“I’m not alone, New York is my home,” Dion and Paul Simon harmonize on the doo-wop singer’s new single, available for download tomorrow. The track is more akin to Simon’s gentle folk-rock than the rollicking early-Sixties hits, like “Runaround Sue” and “The Wanderer,” that made a rock & roll star out of Dion. The vocalist will put out a new album, also titled New York Is My Home, in February.
“Paul and I have been friends a long time,” Dion tells Rolling Stone. “I was at his apartment back when there was a terrible downturn in the country [in the Nineties] and Paul wanted to do something special for the city. Well, he put together that wonderful concert in Central Park. He thought the city needed a touch of friendship. I thought it was off the Richter scale doing something for our city. When I wrote ‘New York Is My Home,’ I thought this is a way to have New Yorkers fall in love with their city all over again.”
Dion originally wrote the tune as a solo recording, but soon realized he’d like to bring his old friend Simon into the fold. “We share a love for rock & roll street music the way it was done when we were kids,” he says. “I knew Paul would get this song. And he did. Soon after I sent it to him, he called and said he’d become obsessed with it. He added his own distinct touches to the production. He’s from Queens; I’m from the Bronx. We’re both at home in New York. What a trip, a labor of love for us.”
Simon and Dion previously performed together in 1987, when the latter singer staged a comeback show at Radio City Music Hall. They also recorded a song together, “Written on the Subway Walls/Little Star,” which Rolling Stone described as an “outright triumph,” for Dion’s 1989 album Yo Frankie. They also sang “The Wanderer” at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th anniversary concert in 2009.