Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
The Yankee Clipper died in 1999. But where´s Paul Simon, who wrote that line for the classic song ´Mrs. Robinson´?
You can find him at center stage at 9 tonight on KET1 to receive the first Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. The program was taped May 23 in Washington, D.C.
Nobody is more deserving.
There´s only a handful of people and groups that oldies stations play forever. On that list are the Beatles, the Beach Boys and Kentucky´s Everly Brothers, whom Simon and his partner, Art Garfunkel, idolized when they were teens in the 1950s at Forest Hills High School in New York.
The twosome, who called themselves Tom & Jerry, played high school dances and wrote their first song, ´High School Girl.´ They broke up to go to college. After all, how many people can make a living playing pop music?
Simon, the son of schoolteachers, whose father played in a dance band, got a degree in English literature and briefly went to law school, but he couldn´t shake the composing habit.
He wrote and performed under a slew of aliases including Paul Kane, Jerry Landis and True Taylor, as well as Tico and the Triumphs, according to his Wikipedia biography. Simon also worked with another young composer named Carole King.
Surprisingly, she´s not one of the guest stars honoring Simon tonight. Those on the musical menu include Stevie Wonder, Alison Krauss, Marc Anthony, Lyle Lovett, James Taylor, Yolanda Adams and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The real treat, of course, will be hearing Simon perform some of his own songs, such as ´Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,´ which he does with Wonder.
The Gershwin Award is given to composers who have influenced American music. There´s also a little musical tribute to Gershwin in the show.
It´s certainly understandable that the producers of the show wanted a diverse group of performers to pay tribute to Simon in different and interpretative ways since his own work has evolved in various directions across his career.
Still, if you´re somebody of a certain age, and Simon is 65, you would probably long to hear him sing about ´Mrs. Robinson,´ ´Sounds of Silence,´ ´Scarborough Fair,´ ´The 59th Street Bridge (Feelin´ Groovy),´ ´Kodachrome,´ ´Slip Slidin´ Away,´ ´Still Crazy After All These Years´ and ´Bridge Over Troubled Waters,´ which he did along with Garfunkel.
Garfunkel will be there tonight to honor his old friend, but they weren´t always such pals.
Simon went off to Europe and played clubs after college, but in the early ´60s he returned to New York and once more teamed up with his high school buddy. Between 1965 and 1970 they were one of the most successful music duos in recording history, turning out hit after hit.
Then, like so many show-business groups that get a sip of the heady taste of stardom, they began having what is always referred to as creative differences.
Simon went his own way again and blazed new paths with music in other places such as South Africa. He and Garfunkel reunited in 2003-04 for a national and international tour and drew 600,000 people at a Rome concert. Some of Simon´s latest recordings are ´That´s Me´ and ´Outrageous.´ The elder statesman of pop still performs sometimes, as he does tonight. He´s also going on the road in Iowa next week with his old friend Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., who is running for president.
If you´re one of those people who have an oldies station on one of your car-radio presets, this show will be a nostalgic stroll down memory lane. Simon´s songs are a treasure to experience at any age.