Paul Simon - Graceland

Series 1 - Episode 1 Paul Simon - Graceland



This is simply one of the finest entries in the Classic canon. Not just for the piecemeal track breakdowns and the star (uninterrupted) explaining everything, but also for the drama of the story. Released in 1986, Graceland had the knee-jerk press bleating about the exploitation of South African musicians. But all that you see and hear in this documentary, tied into the My Generation 80s season – blows that argument out of the water. There are surprises (the Everly Brothers were backing singers; the chirpy You Can Call Me Al is actually one extended nightmare) and Simon is as open and incisive as you could wish for.

Session clips prove how collaborative the enterprise was, and the joy of such fusion is clear in the immaculate call-and-response between Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo for a live version of Homeless. It was a marriage made in music heaven, went on to sell 16 million copies worldwide and, as Simon points out, “It made a powerful point gently.”


The writing and recording of Paul Simon's Graceland, featuring tracks such as Diamonds on the Sole of Her Shoes. Since its 1986 release this album, with its blend of Western sounds and African rhythms, has changed the course of rock music. Contributors include composer Philip Glass.

Cast & Crew

Director Jeremy Marre
Executive Producer Nick de Grunwald
Executive Producer Bous De Jong
Producer Nick de Grunwald