20 Years Ago: Paul Simon Previews ‘Songs From the Capeman’

It can be argued that Paul Simon put more effort into The Capeman than any other project in his long career – he certainly put in more time. But in Simon’s attempt to conquer Broadway, the music legend walked away with his greatest failure. Even though the singer-songwriter expressed admiration for the show tunes of yore (and songwriters such as Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin), he admitted to being turned off by the musical theater of the ’70s and ’80s, the same era in which Simon was scoring hit after pop hit as a solo artist. It’s not just that he wasn’t the biggest fan of Andrew Lloyd Webber, he felt that most of the music was bland. “There are all of these different stories out there, but the music kind of all sounds the same,” Simon told The Baltimore Sun in 1997, also expressing his dislike for how the musical component appeared secondary to the lyrics. “I think that’s deeply unmusical.” And so, after Simon came up with the idea to make his own musical, the singer-songwriter planned to come up with the melodies, rhythms and songs first. Although he didn’t begin earnest work on the […]

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