Paul Simon, The Bard Of Bad Weather

Paul Simon. i i

Paul Simon. Mark Seliger hide caption

itoggle caption Mark Seliger
Paul Simon.

Paul Simon.

Mark Seliger

Among the hundreds of songs that remind NPR listeners of winter, one songwriter's name keeps coming up: Paul Simon, who's practically the bard of bad weather. From "Kodachrome" to "Slip Slidin' Away," almost a dozen of the New York musician's tunes were named when we asked for songs that evoke the winter season. Here are just a few of your stories.

Winter Songs: Paul Simon

  • "I Am A Rock" by Simon & Garfunkel

    From Auburndale, Mass., Clara Silverstein recalls how she felt as a girl four decades ago after her father's sudden death.

    She writes: "I imagined wandering through Paul Simon's 'freshly fallen silent shroud of snow,' hands jammed in my pockets, shutting out the irritating voices of my mother and sister, the other survivors in my shattered family.

    "We had moved to Richmond, Va., from Chicago, and I hated the drawl and the 'y'all' of my new classmates. 'It's laughter and it's loving I disdain,' I told myself, trying to freeze the grief that threatened to spill out and reveal me as vulnerable."

    Silverstein says that "loneliness" was the theme for her bat mitzvah service, and she played this song. But by the end of the service, she says, "I felt less lonely because I had become part of a community. Now, when I hear 'I Am A Rock,' I pause to celebrate transformation instead of restless winter."

  • "Slip Sliding Away" by Simon & Garfunkel

    Joy Gregory from Los Angeles says she heard "Slip Sliding Away" a lot during the Blizzard of 1977 while in Cleveland, but one moment sticks out.

    She writes: "I was sitting in the back seat of our old brown Ford, watching the windshield wipers carve out arcs in the sleet, defroster on full blast fighting a losing battle against the anxious breath of me and my two brothers, the road salt flecking the car's undercarriage as our dad guided us slowly home through the snow.

    "Like so many moments in childhood, it felt like an oasis of safety and warmth surrounded by peril on all sides: sliding into a tree or another car, stalling out, not making it home, the unpredictable flashes of my dad's anger as he battled the recession that gripped the country.

    "But there were the stranger, more distant perils of adulthood, too, hinted by Paul Simon's lyrics. We were safe for now, but what was coming next? We could only see a few feet in front of us and the road under our searching wheels was a terrain of mystery, the lines hidden in the snow."

  • "Kodachrome" by Paul Simon

    But we can not end on such an uncertain note. Paul Simon's sunny "Kodachrome" reminds Robert Roth of Fairfax, Va., of the days when he was a ski instructor in Vermont.

    Roth says: "I would routinely fall asleep at night listening to music. 'Kodachrome' would pick up my spirits no matter what my mood was and allow me to fall asleep with happy thoughts."

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