Sometimes what is put in as a placeholder lyric becomes a crucial part of the song. That was the case here, as Simon used "Lie la lie" in place of a proper chorus because he couldn't find the right words. Other examples of placeholders that worked include the "I know" chorus in "Ain't No Sunshine
" and Otis Redding's whistling in "(Sittin' On) The Dock Of The Bay
In a 1990 interview with SongTalk
magazine, Simon said: "I thought that 'lie la lie was a failure of songwriting. I didn't have any words! Then people said it was 'lie' but I didn't really mean that. That it was a lie. But, it's not a failure of songwriting, because people like that and they put enough meaning into it, and the rest of the song has enough power and emotion, I guess, to make it go, so it's all right. But for me, every time I sing that part, I'm a little embarrassed."
Simon added that the essentially wordless chorus gave the song more of an international appeal, as it was universal.