Song Of The Week - Harper Simon - Wishes And Stars
It took Harper Simon 37 years to get round to making his first album. And when he did he couldn't come up with a title and had Tracy Emin do the sleeve. But it was more than worth the wait.
A dazzlingly assured collection of folk-country numbers, with a line in melody, a playful way with words and a voice that both reminded you of his father, and clearly set him up as his own man. It didn't hurt that the album was co-produced by Bob Jonhston, late of Highway 61/Blonde on Blonde era Dylan, and two classic albums by Simon & Garfunkel.
Simon may have been slow in making his own record, but his career has been wide and varied, playing guitar for the likes of Carl Perkins and frequently as part of Yoko's Plastic Ono band. Indeed, at one point he was collaborating with both Sean Lennon and Rufus Wainwright, a second-generation trio of quite amazing proportions.
The song we've chosen, Wishes and Stars, (co-written with the Nigerian poet and Novelist Ben Okri) is simply so wonderfully good that at least one member of the lastword team is considering having it played at his funeral. That's how good a pop record this is! (lastword one saw Harper play this album live on a 12 string acoustic in London. We even ended up having a pee next to him in the gents. He was wearing a Nudie suit - it wasn't the right moment to say hi or shake hands.)
As to Harper's cinematic connections (apart from frequent airplay on Girls), he appeared in his dad's movie One Trick Pony, briefly popped up in Scorsese's Bringing Out the Dead, and provided music for two Abel Ferrara movies, The Blackout and New Rose Hotel. And if any more connections were needed, his dad wrote Mrs Robinson and provided much of the soundtrack for Mike Nichols' peerless The Graduate, the first movie to thematically score to pop music.
A good friend of the site once told us upon hearing this song - "He's right! There are more wishes that stars" - so fuck you, Jiminy Cricket! (Oh look - another cinematic connection.)