Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Rolling Stone's Top 100 Albums of the 80's - #5 – Paul Simon - Graceland

Continuing the series on the Top 100 Albums of the 80's.  Or at least the ones I have....
Continuing to work backwards, finally into the top 10:

#5 – Paul Simon - Graceland

As noted at Allmusic, Paul Simon's August 1986 release "succeeded in presenting listeners with that magical combination: something they'd never heard before that nevertheless sounded familiar".  Graceland combined "his always perceptive songwriting with the little-heard mbaqanga music of South Africa, creating a fascinating hybrid that re-enchanted his old audience and earned him a new one."

The album was hugely successful, reaching 5x Platinum in sales, reaching #3 on the US charts and winning 1987 Grammy for Record Of The Year.  Interestingly, it only generated 1 Top 40 hit, "You Can Call Me Al" which made it to #23.

What I remember most from the time that Graceland was "current" was the political aspect.  Recording in Apratheid-era South Africa, with black muscians.  And violating the associated "cultural boycott".  In late 1986, I was more interested in the impending arrival of my first child than South African politics, or pop music.  Consequently, Graceland didn't make much of a splash in my consciousness.  Oh, I thought "You Can Call Me Al" was a good song (with a better video).  But I didn't dig deeper.  It has only been in the past few years that I have come to know, and appreciate Graceland.  It started with the episode from the "Classic Albums" series, and culminated in purchasing the album to supplement the handful of songs I from a greatest hits album.

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