Paul Simon plays solo at Borgata over Memorial Day weekend; the Monkees come to Atlantic City in June.
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER, HERE comes Rhymin’ Simon.
Paul Simon, who years ago vowed never to perform in an Atlantic City casino, has apparently had a change of heart. The enigmatic pop singer and songwriter will make his Atlantic City solo debut with a May 28 one-night-stand at — where else? — the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa.
About 30 years ago, when Atlantic City’s casinos were perceived as a haven for old folks and their parents, Simon, 69, was among a handful of contemporary artists who famously passed up gazillions of bucks and said they’d never perform in a casino showroom here. The hot and hip artists of the period felt that Atlantic City was a place where old people went to blow their retirement money and old entertainers went to die, or at least play one last gig before they called it a career. (Billy Joel was a member of the “Just Say No” club, but he eventually played a private casino show for high rollers — also at Borgata — a few years ago.)
Churlishness aside, Simon, who made his name in the early ’60s as part of the brooding, folksy musical duo Simon and Garfunkel, was one of the most successful and influential and songwriters of the second half of the 20th century. After he and former partner Art Garfunkel split up in 1970, Simon went on to record some of the best-selling albums and singles of the 1970s.
His first two solo albums, the self-titled Paul Simon (1972) and There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (’73) both racked up platinum sales and produced hit singles that included “Mother and Child Reunion,” “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard,” “Kodachrome” and “Loves Me Like a Rock.”
In 1975, Simon’s LP Still Crazy After All These Years won the album of the year Grammy and was loaded with hit singles that included the title track, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” and “My Little Town.”
A decade later, Simon, who always surrounds himself with a who’s who of producers, musicians and collaborators, released perhaps the most ambitious and critically acclaimed album of his career. Graceland was an eclectic collection of songs that straddled a variety of styles, but was heavily influenced by the music of South Africa.
Contributors to Graceland included everyone from the Zulu chorus of male singers known as Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the Everly Brothers to Linda Ronstadt. Graceland won Grammys for best album and song of the year and initially sold in excess of five million copies.
While Simon’s Borgata gig will mark his first solo date in Atlantic City, it won’t be the first time he’s performed in town. In 2003, Simon and Garfunkel performed at Boardwalk Hall as part of their “Old Friends” reunion tour.
Simon and Garfunkel were scheduled to play the Trump Taj Mahal last July, but the date — along with their entire tour — was called off when Garfunkel developed vocal problems.
The Monkees: Davy Jones, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of the time when Screen Gems and producer Bob Rafelson turned a bunch of Monkees loose on a world that was just getting acclimated to acts like The Beatles, the Rolling Stones and other genre-shifting groups. The Monkees will play a one-nighter at Borgata June 18. It’s the group’s first tour in a decade, and as has been the case on previous reunion efforts, it’ll be done with Mike Nesmith sitting on the sidelines. Nesmith, a successful record producer, briefly participated in Monkees’ reunions in the mid-1980s and mid-1990s, but has shown no willingness to join up with his old stage mates for the 2011 go-around.
See a video clip of Micky Dolenz doing "I'm a Believer" during an impromptu performance at Ocean City's GrassRoots Music Store in 2010:
Even when the Monkees were hot with their TV show and songs during the mid-1960s, Jones alluded to the fact that Nesmith was the odd-man out.
“He’s always been this aloof, inaccessible person ... the fourth part of the jigsaw puzzle that never quite fit in,” Jones once told the Los Angeles Times.
This won’t be the first time the Monkees played Atlantic City. In 1986, they brought their 20th anniversary show to the Boardwalk and filled the 3,500-seat ballroom in what’s now known as Boardwalk Hall. Legendary Delaware Valley DJ Jerry Blavat emceed that show and brought the boys on stage with his familiar “Geator Rap.”
Casual conversations with the stars. Watch the Emmy-winning Curtain Call with David Spatz, Saturdays at 6pm on WMGM-TV NBC40.
At a time when vanity runs rampant among many contemporary musicians, it’s refreshing to see that an artist who’s certainly earned the right to show some swagger, Paul Simon, still seem humble after all these years.
“It’s fun playing the old songs with the guys,” Dolenz says. “That’s always been so. We were fortunate to find each other and have so much success. We appreciate it and enjoy every minute together when we do get back on stage.”
Paul Simon played songs from his recent So Beautiful So What, and from throughout his unparalleled career, during his Atlantic City debut as a solo artist.
Once again, greetings and salutations. And for you folks who joined us last Sunday for our Mother’s Day spectacular at the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, what can I say? Outstanding. Another sold-out show, with thanks going out to Jay Black, Frankie Avalon, the Soul Survivors, the Orlons, the Tymes, and the Planotones. And with that behind us, let’s talk about Memorial Day weekend, right around the corner. Would you believe this year will mark 40 years that you and I have been together at that legendary spot, Memories in Margate? Look for some exciting things to happen when we go live on KOOL 98.3 on weekends, not only from Memories on Saturday nights, but also on Friday nights from Mia’s Restaurant at Caesars Atlantic City. More about that as the weeks go by — now, let’s ask the Geator. After a bunch of people (including me) were reminiscing about the good ol’...
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