Song of the Day #1,281: ‘Love and Blessings’ – Paul Simon

Closing out my Paul Simon Weekends is another song from the excellent So Beautiful Or So What. ‘Love and Blessings’ is the album’s penultimate track and one that crept up on me, going initially unnoticed before emerging as one of my favorites.

I was working in the yard one day, listening to the album on headphones, when a line toward the end of this song struck me: “Maple trees just a little but duller than the memory of the year before.”

That’s a beautiful line. It’s not that the leaves are actually duller than they were last year — they’re just duller than you remember them being. Next year, the same thing will be true again.

Similarly, there “ain’t no song like an old song,” not necessarily because those songs were better but because they represent a time we remember as better. This is similar to the theme at the center of Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris.

The love and blessings that we enjoy in life are “ours to hold but not to keep” because like everything else, they will fade as we move on. I believe Simon’s point in this song, and on this album, is to love life — in the here and now — like a memory.

Love and blessings
Simple kindness
Fell like rain on thirsty land
Fields and gardens
Long abandoned
Came to life in dust and sand

Lover’s lips sweet as honey
Touched as if old love was new
Banker’s pockets overflowing with gold and money
Prophesies of wealth come true

Ain’t no song like an old song, Charlie
There ain’t no song like an old song,
There ain’t no time like a good time Charlie
Ain’t no times like the good times, Charlie


Everywhere you look anywhere you go
Everybody working for the
Can’t get enough of the

If the summer kept a secret
It was heaven’s lack of rain
Golden days and amber sunsets
Let the scientists complain
Came the autumn, drained of color
Ghosts in the water beg for more
Maple trees just a little bit duller
Than the memory of the year before

In a word, or in an image
Something called me from my sleep
Love and blessings
Simple kindness
Ours to hold but not to keep

2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #1,281: ‘Love and Blessings’ – Paul Simon

  1. Dana says:

    great interpretation of this song. And musically, Simon always seems to do something musically that delights and surprises. On yesterday’s song it was the whistles. On today’s song it is the “bop bop uh whoa” which almost seems like he resurrected the back up singers from a circa 1940’s band and planted them in the middle of the chorus.

    Looking forward to the next weekend theme–unless of course you intend to delve into the career of Morrisey:)

  2. A terrific song ! I never hear this song before, just once when I am visiting this posting now. Can I ask you something about the lyrics ? “Bop-bop-a-whoa
    Ain’t no song like an old song, Charlie”. Who is he means with Charlie ? Is he Charlie Parker ?
    I am a fan of Paul Simon too. I also have a posting about his song “Was A Sunny Day”. Here is the link Please check it if you have time. Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.