Monday, September 20, 2010

"And the leaves that are green turn to brown."

The Song: "Leaves That Are Green," Simon & Garfunkel. Words and music by Paul Simon. Track 2 of Sounds of Silence, 1966.
How/when acquired: Illegally copied from a friend's LP, c. 1981; CD acquired c. 2000.
Listen/watch here.

The autumnal equinox isn't for another three days, but fall's already here in central Maine. The temperature when I woke up this morning was 40F, and has now risen only to 48F, although it's supposed to be much warmer later in the day.

I didn't get enough sleep last night, because I stayed up to watch the encore presentation of "Mad Men." The current season is set in 1965; last night's episode happened in June, still at least five months before my twin sister and I were born. But I'm starting to see things in the show that evoke my earliest memories, and a surprising number of those are media-related.

My father, a Naval officer, was at sea for most of the first five years of my life; my mother was a de facto single parent when they were rare creatures. She loved music (she had worked for Capitol Records before her marriage), so my earliest memories all include the radio in the background. She kept it on for company, and when we were colicky, drove us around in the car until the music and the movement put us to sleep.

This song was the B-side of "Homeward Bound," which made it to #5 on the Billboard charts (although "Homeward Bound" wasn't even on Sounds of Silence, but was included in the next album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme). It's quite possible that this is one of the first pop songs I ever heard.

Simon & Garfunkel played this song the one and only time I've ever seen them live — in 2003 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, a birthday treat from my friend Gary. Thirty-eight felt old, which makes me laugh seven years later.

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