The other day my youngest grandson, Jack, was visiting and when he was leaving I said, “Slip out the back, Jack”, then broke into laughter. I tried to explain that it reminded me of Paul Simon’s big hit song, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”, but he wasn’t too impressed since he had never heard of the guy. So another swing and miss for Grandpa and no big deal, except that song stuck with me and became a dreaded “earworm”.
Paul Simon is, of course, one of the best singer/songwriters in American music. During a long career – much of the early years spent as part of a duo with Art Garfunkel – he’s had countless hit records, but none bigger (as a solo) than “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”.
Simon wrote and recorded the song in 1975 after he and his wife divorced, and he meant it as a wry comment on the circumstances around that event. He probably had no idea the record would climb the charts to the top position, but that’s just what it did.
It’s been performed many times in the years since – by him and others – but the original featured some solid support by Patti Austin and Phoebe Snow. He also enlisted several talented instrumentalists, and the result was a deceptively simple song that was one of his best. Unfortunately it has also become an Earworm for me.