Paul Simon “Hearts and Bones”



Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#750) is Paul Simon, Hearts and Bones.

Hearts and Bones could be considered the “Lost Paul Simon Album.”  It wasn’t Simon and Garfunkel. It wasn’t Still Crazy, It wasn’t Graceland.  It was between all those classics and never received it’s proper due.  Well not until now.

I myself hadn’t even played this for quite sometime.  Recently I was on facebook and saw a video by Al Di Meola.  In the thread beneath it, there was a comment that mentioned how Di Meola had “the most pick control” of anyone he could think of.

Then I thought, “Al Di Meola and pick control, hmmm” .. I could only think of one solo.  That would be the one that he does in the Paul Simon song, “Allergies.” It’s nothing BUT pick control!!

Hearts and Bones was recorded right after the period in which Simon and Garfunkel held their huge Central Park reunion concert.  In fact, I recently read that this was originally going to be a Simon and Garfunkel album  and it was to be titled, Think Too Much.

It ended up being a Paul Simon record and “Think Too Much” became one of many great songs on the album.

The aforementioned “Allergies” is my standout track,  others that I would consider standouts would include the title cut, “Hearts and Bones,” where Paul tossed in a great line about he and future wife describing their vacation travels referring to themselves as “One and One Half Wandering Jews.”

“When Numbers Get Serious,” “Song About The Moon,” and “Rene and Georgette Magrette With Their Dog After the War” are all outstanding.

But there is one last song that needs mention.  A truly, truly masterful song called “The Late Great Johnny Ace.” There have been many, but this might be the best song written in honor of John Lennon, well this and also Sir Paul’s “Here Today.”.  It was written my Paul Simon with a haunting ending piece that was added by Phillip Glass.  This is a superb track,  a must hear.

Al Di Meola was not the only big name musician brought in to fill the sound.

Steve Gadd (drums), Bernard Edwards and Nile Rogers from Chic (bass and guitar), Sid McGinnis (guitar), Richard Tee (piano), Jeff Porcaro (drums), Greg Phillinganes (keys) and Micheal Boddicker (synthesizer…. curve ball..OK, not THAT Michael Boddicker.)

Hearts and Bones was released in 1983. It was produced by Simon, Roy Halee, Russ Titelman and Lenny Waronker. It peaked at #35 on the Billboard Top Album Charts.

Paul Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist in 2001 and as a member of Simon and Garfunkel in 1990.

— Larry Carta

Track listing

  1. “Allergies” – 4:37
  2. “Hearts and Bones” – 5:37
  3. “When Numbers Get Serious” – 3:25
  4. “Maybe I Think Too Much” (b) – 2:44
  5. “Song About the Moon” – 4:07
  6. “Maybe I Think Too Much” (a) – 3:05
  7. “Train in the Distance” – 5:11
  8. “Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War” – 3:44
  9. “Cars Are Cars” – 3:15
  10. “The Late Great Johnny Ace” (Simon, Glass) – 4:45


  • Paul Simon – guitar, programming, vocals
  • Rob Mounsey – synthesizer, vocoder
  • The Harptones – background vocals
  • Bernard Edwards – bass
  • Nile Rodgers – guitar, programming
  • Airto Moreira – percussion
  • Marin Alsop – violin
  • Michael Boddicker – synthesizer
  • Wells Christy – synthesizer, synclavier
  • Tom Coppola – synthesizer, synclavier
  • Al di Meola – guitar
  • Gordon Edwards – bass
  • Steve Ferrone – drums
  • Steve Gadd – drums
  • Eric Gale – guitar
  • Anthony Jackson – contrabass guitar
  • Jill Jaffe – viola
  • Jesse Levy – cello
  • Michael Mainieri, Jr. – marimba, vibraphone, background vocals
  • George Marge – bass clarinet
  • Sid McGinnis – guitar
  • Marcus Miller – bass
  • David Nichtern – synclavier
  • Jeff Porcaro – drums
  • Dean Parks – guitar
  • Greg Phillinganes – piano, Fender Rhodes
  • Michael Riesman – synthesizer, conductor
  • Mark Rivera – alto saxophone
  • Robert Sabino – synthesizer, piano
  • Richard Tee – synthesizer, piano, Fender Rhodes, vocals
  • Carol Wincenc – flute
  • Frederick Zlotkin – cello
  • Peter Gordon – French horn
  • Dave Matthews – horn arrangements

Related Links

Listen to the album in its entirety below.

Posted by Larry Carta

1 Comment

  1. Danny (04 Sep 2011, 8:40)

    Thanks for the write up of this truly amazing album… You’re right, it is very cool. If you hunt around, you can find the entire album made up of alternate cuts, recorded with Art in tow, rescued from the recording studio bin. Only song about the moon has art’s voice on it, but the alternate cuts are also very cool. Happy hunting!!!

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