Song of the Day #7: ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ – Simon & Garfunkel

Here’s a great obscure Simon & Garfunkel song from the Bridge Over Troubled Water album.

As least it was obscure until Zach Braff put it in Garden State and every 17-28 year-old in America gobbled up the soundtrack because it made them feel as languorously cool as the characters in that movie.

I liked the movie well enough, though it did feel a bit like an excuse for Braff to show off his CD collection.

But who am I kidding? If I made a movie, it would be exactly like that, because there’s nothing I like more than a great scene set to a great piece of music. Some of my favorite filmmakers (Scorsese, Wes Anderson, P.T. Anderson) are able to find that perfect match of pop song and visuals without going over the top. But kudos to Braff for trying, and for having really good taste in music.

As for the song, it’s Simon’s response to Art Garfunkel leaving New York to pursue his movie career, and one of the sweetest melodies I’ve ever heard.

8 thoughts on “Song of the Day #7: ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ – Simon & Garfunkel

  1. mom says:

    Clay, the video says it’s “unavailable”, anyway, I love their music, they have done some great soundtracks for movies i.e. The Graduate.

  2. Clay says:

    Hmm… the video is working for me now, so maybe you can try it again later. Damn you, YouTube!

  3. Amy says:

    For me, this song is a reminder of my brother, master mix-tape maker. Long before Steve Jobs was getting even richer because of a little invention called the iPod, Clay would labor over tapes, selecting songs he knew his recipient likely didn’t know but would appreciate. I was lucky enough to be the recipient of several of these tapes over the year. I would play them incessantly. Of course, now when I hear this song (along with several on this particularly worn tape), I feel as though I must start working on my honors thesis for college, as it was my accompaniment during many long hours of writing. I loved the song when I first heard it all those years ago; I love it now. Boy do I miss those mix tapes 😦 Damn you, Steve Jobs.

  4. mom says:

    it’s working now! I too was a recipient of Clay’s labor over tapes, and we always enjoyed listening to his mix. Thanks again Clay!

  5. Dana says:

    Wonderful song. I think Clay needs to send suggested playlists so that they can now be programmed into our IPods–Gotta keep rolling with the changes…won’t be too long now that Clay will be able to push songs directly into our Ipods for our listening pleasure. You go Jobs!

  6. Amy says:

    Oooooo, I love that idea (said in full Steven Tyler mode). Maybe you could have a section of your blog for playlist suggestions. Do you still have all of the mix tape song lists you’ve ever made? You could start with those. Oooooo, I love that idea!

  7. Alex says:

    Clay, you complain I don’t post on this site. So, here’s one that should shut you up for a while. One of the many reasons I fell in love with you was because of those mix tapes that Amy mentioned. I remember you playing this song for me in Peggy’s white Miata. I’d never heard it before and also thought it was one of the loveliest melodies I’d ever heard. I have no recollection of it in Garden State because in my mind it lives forever in a convertible driving through the shadeless streets of Coconut Grove (thanks Andrew) in the fall of 1992.

  8. Chris Burns says:

    I love that song…I just posted a blog about it today. Check out my version of this song on You Tube!


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