Don’t miss the broadcast premiere of the Graceland documentary, “Under African Skies,” this Friday May 25th at 10 p.m. / 9 p.m. central on the A&E network (check your local listings).
“Under African Skies” travels with Paul Simon back to South Africa, a quarter century after the making of Graceland. Paul revisits the making of the record, surveying from the vantage of history the turbulence and controversy surrounding the album’s genesis. His artistic decision to collaborate with African musicians created a new world musical fusion, combining American and African musical idioms while igniting an intense political crossfire, with Paul Simon accused of breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end the Apartheid regime.
The universal appeal of the music of Graceland proved more powerful and enduring than the political hotbed attending its creation. In 1986, the album sold 14 million copies worldwide, and received universal praise from critics around the globe. By January of 1987, “You Can Call Me Al” was everywhere and Graceland won Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards in 1987. Then, in an unprecedented carryover, the album earned the Song of the Year Grammy with its title track in 1988. The album generated three hit singles–“You Can Call Me Al,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” and “The Boy in the Bubble”–while keeping Paul Simon and the Graceland tour on the road for five years.