Loves Me Like a Rock

Album: Here Comes Rhymin' Simon (1973)
Charted: 39 2

Songfacts®:

  • This is one of Simon's more spiritual songs - it's about a mother's love. Note that Paul Simon was the rare songwriter who used "rock" to mean a piece of stone rather than a musical form. He did the same thing on one of his first songs, "I Am A Rock." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • Background vocals were provided by a popular gospel group called The Dixie Hummingbirds, which formed in the 1930s. They released their own version of the song later in 1973 on their album We Love You Like A Rock, and toured with both Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder. A few years earlier, The Staple Singers made the transition from gospel to pop, but The Dixie Hummingbirds didn't catch on with a wider audience.
  • Here Comes Rhymin' Simon was recorded in Muscle Shoals Alabama with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
  • The line about the president and "the minute the Congress calls my name" seemed, however intentionally, to resonate with the big news story of the day - the Watergate investigation that brought down president Richard Nixon in disgrace. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Charles - Charlotte, NC, for all above
  • The O'Jays do a cover of this song in the movie The Fighting Temptations. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dave - Bronx, NYC, NY
  • Simon mentions his mother "rocks me like the rock of ages." Throughout the Book of Psalms in the Bible, the rock is used as a metaphor for God's strength and dependability. Psalms 91:1 refers to Him as "the rock of our salvation." Jesus is the rock "Rock of Ages" in the Christian hymn about Jesus' sacrificial crucifixion. Simon may have been inspired by the hymn or the Hebrew poem "Ma'oz Tzur," which is traditionally sung during Hanukkah. The opening verse praises God as "My Refuge, my Rock of Salvation!"
  • Paul Simon performed this when he was the very special guest on The Muppet Show in 1980.

Comments: 13

  • Jennifur SunMy mama loved me like a rock too. Miss her.
  • S from Portland, OrTo build upon other comments, I think it's clear that the song outlines the life on an individual, who is tempted by the Devil (insert your own interpretation). The Rock, and the Rock of Ages, refers to the hymn "Rock of Ages" by Augustus Toplady, who wrote the hymn in the 1760's about a rock formation he found shelter in during a storm while traveling in England. The rock, therefore, shelters the protagonist of Simon's song from the onslaught of outside forces that would cause him peril. If one views this song in it's temporal framework (like other commentators suggested), "Mama" refers to Mother Country, especially the populace of the country that unconditionally supported Nixon. Once in possession of the "Presidential Seal" the subject of the song says "Mama" gets down on her knees and loves him (performs fellatio). Nixon thought his base (Mama) would do anything (and Simon uses this metaphor liberally) to appease him because he knows he has her unconditional support. And, he would go so far as to completely abuse her (referring to the whole of the country and it’s political/judicial process) just to enjoy the level of prestige to which she has elevated him. This song is arguably more socially relevant now (2020) than it's ever been. It's a truly (and unfortunately) timeless classic which showcases Simon's lyrical genius. P.S. 30+ years is a long snooze. Wake up to reality!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn November 6th 1979, Paul Simon appeared in concert* at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, England...
    At the time he didn't have a record on any U.S. or U.K. chart; but exactly six years earlier on November 6th, 1973 his "Loves Me Like a Rock" was at #30 on Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart, a little over five weeks earlier on September 30th it had peaked at #2 {for 1 week} and it stay on the chart for 16 weeks...
    It was his second straight record that peaked at #2; "Kodachrome" reached the runner-up spot earlier in 1973 on July 1st...
    * At the end of the concert Mr. Simon offered to buy everyone in the audience a drink, his bar tab came to about $2,000.00.
  • Ken from Louisville, KyPaul wanted to do a gospel-feel type song, without it actually being a gospel song (Paul is Jewish). And he wanted to have fun with the lyrics. This was recorded in early 1973, around the time the Senate Watergate Committee was holding its famous hearings and Paul couldn't resist the playful reference.
  • Magic Kenny from Irvine, CaGreat song, and the Dixie Hummingbirds knock it out of the park. Apparently, they came up with the backing vocal arrangement on their own (per Phil Ramone).
  • Mike from San Marcos, CaLove this song. The Dixie Hummingbirds are awesome.
  • Kevin from Reading , PaIn my mind, this is about Nixon and that makes it an even better song than I otherwise might think it is.
  • Henry from Los Angeles, CaI like the way the speaker's (Nixon?) means of justifying himself shows a corruption of his soul. In the beginning he is "consecrated" by some religious rite, an outpouring of God's mercy. Then he is "consummated", referring to the act of consummation which makes complete and is justified by the marriage rite, but at the same time refers to the sex act in corrupt terms: "snatch a little purity". Finally, the speaker is not justified by God at all buy by his own power: the Presidential Seal.
  • Heather from Los Angeles, CaI wish Congress would ask the current president the same thing.
  • Madison from Los Angeles, CaI read in an interview Simon gave that the lines "My momma loves me....." are specifically about Nixon, that no matter how many dirty things he did, in Nixon's mind it was ok because his mom loved him.
  • Lalah from Wasilla, AkTHis song plays at the end of th movie Zathura as the credits are rolling.
  • Jude from Thomasville, GaThis is just a good old gospel song. You can't help tapping your foot and singing along!
  • Johnny from Bridgeport, OhGreat underrated song.Great lead vocal and great background vocals.When this song comes on the radio I listen and sing.
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