Happy 75th Birthday, Paul Simon: Here’s why he’s a good guy.

paul-simon-turkey-snl

How can you not love a man in a turkey suit?

Particularly when he’s also one of the greatest songwriters, producers and performers to ever put hands on guitar, pen to paper, mouth to microphone and music to magnetic tape?

So sure, Paul Simon can also be prickly character. Like most of us he’s done things he oughtn’t have. You can read this New York Daily News story if you want to know more about that stuff.

But that’s just one part of Paul’s story. And so we’re going to celebrate Paul’s day with a brief list of some of the coolest things he’s done over the last three-quarters of a century.

1. As a teenage camp counselor in 1958 Paul would soothe a midnight bed-wetter by helping him change clothes and tucking him into his own bunk, then spending the rest of his night in the boy’s bed, freshly cleaned and re-made by Paul himself. Understanding the boy’s shame, he kept it a secret from all the other boys in the cabin.

2. When Paul got an advance for his UK-only solo album in 1965 he spent half of the money to produce, record and release an album by fellow expat singer/songwriter Jackson C Frank, whose psychiatric problems kept him from developing the audience Paul thought he deserved.

3. In 1970 Paul not only bent the rules to allow the high school-aged singer/songwriters Maggie and Terre Roche entry into his songwriting class at New York University (for free), he went on to sign them to his production company, through which he spent his own money to rent them an apartment, pay for music lessons, buy them armloads of records he thought they should hear, feature their vocals — and photo — on his album “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon,” pay for the production of their debut album “Seductive Reasoning” (which is a wonderful, wonderful record), and prepare them for their career, with sister Suzzy, as the artsy-folksy-wonderful trio, the Roches.

4. After recognizing his talent in his band’s horn section in the early ’90s Paul signed then-unknown jazz trumpeter/songwriter Chris Botti to a $250,000 publishing contract, thereby staking him with all the money he’d need to launch his successful solo career.

5. When a fan at a 2011 concert in Canada asked Paul to play his rarely-heard song “Duncan,” Paul first admitted he had forgotten how to play it. But when she said she knew all the chords and words he invited her onstage to lead him through it. How thrilled was she? Here’s the video:

#paulsimon
#happybirthday
#rayna
#duncan
#jacksoncfrank

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