It’s not a surprise that Homeward Bound: Grammy Salute to the Songs of Paul Simon, which aired on CBS on Wednesday Dec. 21, was so satisfying.
Paul Simon has long been regarded as one of our top songwriters. He won the 1970 Grammy for song of the year for “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and was nominated in that category for “Mrs. Robinson” and “Graceland.” He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982 and received that organization’s highest honor, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 1998. In 2007, he became the inaugural recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.
Many of the participants on the two-hour special spoke warmly about Simon’s songs. Elton John recalled early days when he and Bernie Taupin would sit on the floor listening to Simon & Garfunkel’s Bookends through headphones and marvel at the songs and the sounds. Garth Brooks sai,d “When your stuff was playing, our house was a sweet place to be in.” Dustin Hoffman said, “The Graduate would not be The Graduate” without Simon’s songs. Sting, Herbie Hancock, Oprah Winfrey and actor Woody Harrelson also paid tribute to the master songwriter.
Ken Ehrlich, who was the producer or executive producer of the annual Grammy telecast for four decades from 1980-2020, executive produced this special (and co-wrote it with David Wild). Ehrlich’s talent, taste and connections are a big reason the show was so compelling.
Here are nine of the most memorable performances from the special, which is available to stream on demand on Paramount+.
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