Tune du Jour: “I Am A Rock” – Simon & Garfunkel
THE CLASH of Cover Tunes: The Church vs. The Coolies
Peruse, Comment and Vote (I Beseech, Implore and Urge Thee, respectively)
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Broccoli Fields Forever ...

Broccoli Fields Forever …

Okay here’s one that until today I did not know. I Am A Rock was originally released in August 1965 on a Paul Simon solo album, The Paul Simon Songbook. The album, which was not a commercial success, was only released in the United Kingdom and was not available in the United States until 1981. Simon supposedly hated the album, The Paul Simon Songbook, but I cannot honestly state that I ever personally heard him say so.

The version of I Am A Rock that we all have come to know and love was released in January 1966 on Simon & Garfunkel’s second album, Sounds of Silence. Simon & Garfunkel’s I Am A Rock was released as a single in May 1966 and became an immediate hit reaching number #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was also a hit in Sweden (#10), Netherlands (#10), United Kingdom (#17), Australia (#20), Canada (#22), and Germany (#35).

In the late ’90s, after years of research, a team of forensic scientists came to the unequivocal conclusion that Paul Simon, “in fact, is not nor ever has been an island”. Their report did leave open the possibility that “he may have been somewhat of an isthmus for a short period of time” in his late teens. The inevitable ‘but what of the rock’ question was strangely absent from the study. 


The Original

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Paul Simon:

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The Most Popular

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Simon & Garfunkel:

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THE CLASH of Cover Tunes

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The Church vs. The Coolies

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The Church:

The Coolies:

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Oh the disharmony! Much like Harlan County there are no neutrals here. Only one cover tune will live to play another day and it is your solemn responsibility to decide which one prevails. So tell me … Which Side Are You On?!!?

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Votes can be cast up to three months from the day and time of the original post.

Disclaimer: Votes cast from Florida may or may not be counted.

  1. Kerry Black says:

    I also didn’t know about that early solo version by Paul Simon; that was interesting. The Hollies did this best.

  2. Cuspid says:

    I think the Church are maybe better instrumentalists that the Coolies, and are definitely better vocalists. But they don’t have an ounce of humor in their recordings. And their version of “Rock” doesn’t hold a candle to the Coolies’, who are pretty good musicians in their own right. No contest.

    BTW- I like the all-Simon, all-acoustic Songbook version. It sounds to me like it was recorded on an isthmus when Simon was in his late teens.

  3. RDubbs says:

    I Am A Rock, I Am An I—–Lin, Hit it Billy…

    Enough said!

  4. Arnie Plotnick says:

    I’m a big S&G fan. Have all their albums, including the live ones, and nearly all of the Paul Simon catalog. I am a Rock is probably my second favorite song of theirs, after The Sounds of Silence. Yes, it’s kinda “collegiate”, but that’s part of the appeal of all of those old songs, for me at least. I hadn’t heard the Paul Simon solo version. I think it’s great. I really like the Church’s version. I couldn’t stand the Coolies version; sheer torture.

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