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Paul Simon lived in Brentwood, Essex, England when he wrote this song. When traveling back from Wigan, where he was playing, he got stuck on the station and wrote this. The song has a double meaning: literally, wanting for a ticket home to Brentwood, but on the other hand, yearning to go to his home in the US. (thanks, Paul - London, England)
Simon talked about this song in a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine: "That was written in Liverpool when I was traveling. What I like about that is that it has a very clear memory of Liverpool station and the streets of Liverpool and the club I played at and me at age 22. It's like a snapshot, a photograph of a long time ago. I like that about it but I don't like the song that much. First of all, it's not an original title. That's one of the main problems with it. It's been around forever. No, the early songs I can't say I really like them. But there's something naive and sweet-natured and I must say I like that about it. They're not angry. And that means that I wasn't angry or unhappy. And that's my memory of that time: it was just about idyllic. It was just the best time of my life, I think, up until recently, these last five years or so, six years... This has been the best time of my life. But before that, I would say that that was."
This was just the second Simon & Garfunkel single, following up "The Sound Of Silence
," which became a surprise hit when their record company added instrumentation and released it a year after it was first recorded. The duo had parted ways, but got back together in a hurry when "Sound" hit #1 in America.
Along with "I Am A Rock
," this was recorded at a late-night session in New York City with producer Bob Johnston. Simon played acoustic guitar, and Ralph Casale
was on electric. Johnston was working on Bob Dylan's Highway 61
album around this time, and Casale recalls that drummer Bobby Gregg and organist Al Kooper - both Dylan regulars - played on this Simon & Garfunkel session as well.
George Harrison played this and "Here Comes The Sun
" with Paul Simon in 1975 on Saturday Night Live
. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)