Tomorrow, when the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opens its new exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of Paul Simon‘s career, visitors will be able to walk through old artifacts in a tour led by an unlikely guide: Simon himself. Because the museum recorded over three hours of original interviews with the singer-songwriter, his voice and image will accompany fans as they pass items like his first acoustic guitar, handwritten “The Boxer” lyrics and 1957 missive to “Artie Garfunkel,” written while young Simon was away at summer camp.
In the above video, which is debuting here in advance of the opening, watch Simon discuss one of the most pivotal moments in his life: the point when he ditched rock and fell in love with folk. “I started to lose my interest in rock & roll as the Sixties came to an end,” he says. “I think it was Joan Baez who really made me interested in folk music. She had this incredible voice and was singing songs I really hadn’t heard – Appalachian songs and old folk songs. Also because she was so beautiful.”
Simon recalls getting into the Weavers and heading downtown to the Bleecker Street folk scene: “That’s the first time I ever heard Dylan,” he says, “and I was much more interested in what he had to say. Rock & roll music had become just ‘who put the bomp in the bomp-ba-bomp.'”
The video concludes with Simon dicussing his “Sounds of Silence” breakthrough, and how his songwriting progressed up through 1968’s Bookends.