Arts/Culture
1:05 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Is it art? or Graffiti? or Both?

Someone is writing Paul Simon lyrics on walls in Saginaw.   Why?  We don't know.    Why is this unknown Banksy wannabe quoting lyrics from Simon's song "America"?  We don't know that either.  But the song does mention Saginaw. 


Here's the story in the Saginaw News:



Saginaw rarely warrants musical muse status — at least on a national level —but on “America,” a song written by Paul Simon, released in 1968 and performed with Art Garfunkel, Saginaw garners its mention alongside the likes of the New Jersey Turnpike, Pittsburgh, Pa. and Mrs. Wagner pies.

At least two lyrics from the song have appeared in spray-paint form on abandoned structures throughout the city, including the lyric, “All gone to look for America,” on a boarded up building at the corner of South Washington and East Genesee in Downtown Saginaw; and, “so we bought a pack of cigarettes and Mrs. Wagner pies,” painted in red on the outside of Mama Lillie’s, a long-abandoned soul food restaurant at the end of Potter Street in Saginaw.

How did Saginaw make it into a Paul Simon Lyric?
 


View full sizeGus Burns | The Saginaw NewsLyrics from Paul Simon's "America" painted on an abandoned building in Saginaw


Bob Dyer, a former Saginaw disc jockey and organizer of Y-A-Go-Go, a concert series hosted by the Saginaw YMCA, 1915 Fordney, booked Simon and Garfunkel to play three months before “Sounds of Silence” became a  No. 1 national hit in 1966, according to Saginaw News records.

“I asked Paul Simon if they were still charging the $1,250 we paid them to play and he said they were getting about four times that much then,” Dyer told The Saginaw News in 2004. “Then I asked him why he hadn't pulled out, and he said he had to see what a city named Saginaw looked like.

“Apparently, he liked it; he wrote ‘America' while he was here, including that line about taking four days to hitchhike from Saginaw.”

If anyone is aware of other lyrics to "America" painted in the city, please post the whereabouts (see full lyrics here).

Other than country singer Lefty Frizzell's "Saginaw, Michigan," are readers aware of Saginaw mentions in any other popular songs?