I guess I have loved Simon and Garfunkel since I was very young. Their songs have always held a tender place in my heart. Growing up, my dad loved the Classic Rock radio stations, and the voices of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were commonplace along the air waves on drives anywhere we went. Besides Dad, my Great Uncle Zack was a huge fan of the duo. Uncle Zack solidified my belief at a young age that Simon and Garfunkel was the best rock band that ever was.
In 1982 I was seven years old. In February of that year, Willie Nelson released his twenty-seventh studio album, Always On My Mind. The album was recognized as the Billboard Country Album of the Year thatyear. Long before I ever found Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, even though they were here long before me, there was always Willie Nelson in my mind. I would suppose that I have been a fan of Willie Nelson since the day I was born.
Willie’s, Always On My Mind album featured his cover version of Simon and Garfunkel’s hit song “Bridge over Troubled Water.”
I bet throughout my 45 years on this planet of Earth, I have heard the song more than 45 thousand times. More times than not, it was Willie Nelson’s version than Simon and Garfunkel that was spinning on the player.
This song brings me instant peace and comfort. It soothes me down deep inside of my being. I can feel every emotion in my being when I hear the lyrical genius of the verses and the acoustical music of the melodies. This is a song that even though Willie Nelson did not write, I honestly think he could have. He made the song his own and his voice and emotion shines through the sound. It is an oldie but a goodie. It is one of my very favorites, but I suppose that I could say just that about any song that Willie ever sung.
Columbia’s release of Always On My Mind with it’s pop standard sound and the direction of the album’s producer Chip Moman was a bridge that Willie Nelson needed to cross. The album changed my view of music forever by showing me that a cover song could become better than the original.
Bridge Over Troubled Water will forever be Always On My Mind.