Shocker! Paul Simon recorded a South African-inspired song 25 Years Before ‘Graceland’

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With the Tokens’ cover of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight (Wimoweh)” riding high on the charts, Paul Simon wrote “Wild Flower,” a curious attempt at exotica that comibned grab bag of Bo Diddley beats, acoustic guitars, a pair of soprano saxes making like snake charmers, and a faux-Hawaiian tribal chant (“Manga-wey-ah-poola-wey/Hada-ma-la-hada-ma-ley/Hey!”) that Paul and the members of Tico and the Triumphs — the young doo-wop group the college-aged Paul had recruited for his new management/production company — came up with in the recording studio.

“Wild Flower” doesn’t quite make it — the Diddley beat is too familiar to power a journey to distant lands — but you can hear what Paul is after, and feel the pulse of what would take him so far and so wide.

Homeward Bound
The Life of Paul Simon

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