In an interview with Stephen Colbert, Simon said that, in making the album, he wanted to focus on deep cuts that hadn’t gotten much attention, joking, “Either because they were on an album that had a bunch of other hits, or because they were on an album that had no hits.”
Simon explained his revision process as well, saying, “I rewrote the parts that I thought were weak, like there’d be a song where, I’d say, there was a really good set-up but the last verse didn’t really explain the point clearly. So the song really could’ve been better… It’s really quite a treat to be a composer and have the opportunity to go back and fix your mistakes.”
Simon also spoke about the origins of one of the songs he revised for Into the Blue Light and performed on The Late Show, 1983’s “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War.” The musician said the title came from a photo caption in a book he found at Joan Baez’s house, adding that Magritte’s surrealist paintings inspired him to compose a tune based on the music of Fifties R&B groups.
For his rendition of “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After the War,” Simon added another surreal layer to the song by performing it alongside the chamber ensemble, yMusic. Over the soft swoon of strings and horns, Simon crooned, “The deep, forbidden music/They’d been longing for/Rene and Georgette Magritte/With their dog after the war.”
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Simon also tapped the The Late Show‘s house band, Jon Batiste and Stay Human, to join him for a rendition of the revised version of “One Man’s Ceiling Is Another Man’s Floor.”