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The First Time The World Heard Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’

Do you remember the first time you heard Paul Simon’s “Graceland?” As this groundbreaking album celebrates its 25th anniversary, other musicians are talking about “Graceland” and the impact the music had on them. Here are some excerpts:

The first time I ever heard Graceland was in the halls at uni when I did my study abroad from New York and went to Middlesex University in Tottenham, London. A friend gave me a copy right before I left and I got little speakers at Argos and would blast my CD Walkman in my dorm. It instantly opened my mind – it sounded like nothing I’d heard before – the layers of hand-drumming and cool percussion and his voice made for a very specific world. It made me think of islands. It had this built-in joy and bounce. I really loved it. – Regina Spektor

Graceland was part of growing up for me, because I was very young when I first heard it, but also because it presented me with rhythms and harmonies not readily available on Norwegian TV, radio or in our house at the time. It was the sole African record in my father’s collection, which I explored thoroughly. As I moved into puberty and got exposed to a lot of Scatman John, Haddaway and melancholy Swedish rock, I forgot about Graceland for a while, until my twenties when I borrowed it on CD from the public library in Bergen and taped it on a MiniDisc, which I listened to whilst jogging. To my surprise I found that it was possible to wear out a MiniDisc as the album proved to be the perfect companion for my runs. It’s probably the only album I have on vinyl (my father’s), cassette (copied), CD (stolen), MiniDisc (worn out) and data files (wav and MP3). That must mean it’s my No 1 album of all time. The fact that Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo are playing on the field next to the Casiokids’ studio at Bergen Kjott on 26 July makes me very excited. – Ketil Kinden Endresen, Casiokids

Read more “Graceland” stories at The Independent.

Commemorative editions of Paul Simon’s “Graceland” will be in stores tomorrow, June 5th!