Paul Simon just can’t seem to say goodbye. Just nine months ago he played the last concert of his supposed farewell tour at Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens and since then he’s limited his live performances to Saturday Night Live and two nights on Colbert. From the beginning of the farewell tour he said he might return to the stage for the occasional charity gig, but few imagined that meant headlining Outside Lands less than a year after the Queens show and giving the proceeds to charity. Earlier this week, he announced a pair of more traditional charity gigs at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center in August. Some fans might feel all this live work is taking away from the specialness of the Flushing Meadows show, but the money is all going to wonderful causes that help the environment so it’s hard to fault him.
From the early days of his career, Simon has taken music to unexpected places. Check out this video of Simon singing “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” on Sesame Street in May 1977. He’s on the front stoop of 123 Sesame Street next to a young girl that makes up her own lyrics right on the spot before he has a chance to sing a word. “Dance dance dance,” she sings. “Everybody dance. You can dance with me…” Simon is clearly delighted by her enthusiasm and creativity, but eventually he finds a spot to cut in and sing the song. As soon as he gets to the whistling segment, however, she was back to free-styling like a champ.
Simon returned to the show ten years later to sing a few songs with Ladysmith Black Mambazo shortly after Graceland came out, but sadly his “Me and Julio” singing partner didn’t make a return appearance. It’s unclear what happened to that little girl, but hopefully she’s still out there somehow making up songs on the spot and telling everyone around her to “dance, dance dance.”