Simon drew inspiration from the music coming out of England at the time, and like Bob Dylan, later worked elements of English folk song lyrics and melodies into his own work. The best known example is the recording of ‘Scarborough Fair’ that appeared on a future Simon & Garfunkel album.
Still under contract with Columbia, Simon recorded his first solo album for their British label. Called The Paul Simon Songbook, the 12-song collection consisted almost entirely of songs he would later record with Garfunkel. Tracks such as ‘April Come She Will,’ ‘I Am a Rock’ and ‘Leaves That are Green’ first saw the light of day on this album.
One song, ‘The Side of the Hill,’ was a modest anti-war parable that would later be interwoven into the Simon & Garfunkel recording of ‘Scarborough Fair,’ with some of these lyrics sung in counterpoint to the main melody.
A little boy lies asleep in the earth
While down in the valley a cruel war rages
And people forget what a child’s life is worth
On the side of a hill, a little cloud weeps
And waters the grave with its silent tears
While a soldier cleans and polishes a gun
That ended a life at the age of seven years
And the war rages on in the land called ‘Somewhere’
And generals order their men to kill
And to fight for a cause they’ve long ago forgotten
While the little cloud weeps on the side of a hill