Tuesday 17 July 2018

'It's a relief,' says Simon of plans to retire from touring after 50 years

Paul Simon performing at the Glastonbury festival in England in 2011. Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images
Paul Simon performing at the Glastonbury festival in England in 2011. Photo: Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Harriet Alexander

Paul Simon said it was "something of a relief" to finally draw to a close on 50 years of performing on the road, after formally announcing his retirement from touring.

The 76-year-old singer-songwriter said the death of his long-time guitarist and the toll of touring on his family both played a part in his decision.

A tour beginning this spring, and taking in one date at Dublin's RDS on July 13, will be his last.

Simon said that the death in December of Vincent Nguini, a guitarist from Cameroon who had worked with him since the late 1980s, had hastened the decision.

"His loss is not the only reason I've decided to stop touring, but it is a contributing factor," he wrote, in a statement published yesterday. "Mostly, though, I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing.

"I've often wondered what it would feel like to reach the point where I'd consider bringing my performing career to a natural end.

"Now I know: it feels a little unsettling, a touch exhilarating and something of a relief.

"I love making music, my voice is still strong, and my band is a tight... I think about music constantly. I am very grateful for a fulfilling career and, of course, most of all to the audiences who heard something in my music."

He added that he will still occasionally perform and donate proceeds to charity.

The New Jersey-born singer-songwriter is the latest in a clutch of veteran artists to reveal they are retiring from the road, following similar farewell tours announced by Elton John, Ozzy Osbourne, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Slayer. Neil Diamond has also announced an end to touring due to his Parkinson's disease.

Simon's career has spanned seven decades, starting in 1964 in collaboration with Art Garfunkel as the duo Simon and Garfunkel. The pair met when they were 11, and Simon was responsible for writing nearly all of their songs including three that reached No 1 on the US singles charts - 'The Sound of Silence', 'Mrs Robinson' and 'Bridge over Troubled Water'.

They split up in 1970 at the height of their popularity and Simon began a successful solo career. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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