On Oct. 13, Paul Simon turns the big 8-0, and his career has been going improbably strong since Simon & Garfunkel released their first LP back in 1964. You certainly know many of his greatest hits — from the gentle folk tunes of his early duo days to the African-tinged pop of Graceland — but this list is dedicated to everything else the 16-time Grammy winner has done over the decades, from his recorded concerts and documentaries to his iconic film and TV appearances. Here are eight videos to stream to celebrate the music legend’s 80th birthday.
Saturday Night Live (1975-2018)
Lorne Michaels, 76, and Paul Simon have been friends for decades, and that relationship has landed the singer on the sketch comedy hit many times since the 1970s — four times officially as host, nine times as musical guest, and as a cameo performer on various occasions. From his first taped appearance in the 1975 pilot to his most recent performance as a musical guest on his 77th birthday in 2018, he has racked up a slew of memorable moments: He performed in a full turkey costume on a Thanksgiving episode, inducted Justin Timberlake into the Five-Timers Club, and movingly sang “The Boxer” for first responders on the first episode back after 9/11.
Annie Hall (1977)
Simon had a small but pivotal role in the Woody Allen (85) rom-com classic as sleazy L.A. record producer Tony Lacey. Surrounded by an entourage of beautiful people, he compliments Annie (Diane Keaton, 75) on her singing with the hilariously meaningless line, “I thought it was very musical,” before inviting her and Alvy (Allen) back to the Pierre to meet “Jack and Angelica” for drinks. Later, at a party at his house, Tony says, “I used to live [in New York] for years. You know, but it’s gotten … it’s so dirty now.” His other complaint about the Big Apple? “You wanna see a movie, you have to stand in a long line.” There’s something perfectly ironic about casting the quintessential New York artist as a symbol of all that’s wrong — in Allen’s eyes — with L.A. types.
One-Trick Pony (1980)
Simon wrote this music-filled drama, in which he stars as a fading folk rocker named Jonah Levin, who’s facing a bit of a career slump. He filled the cast with a number of fellow musicians, including Lou Reed as a trendy record producer and the B-52’s as themselves (Jonah opens for them at a concert in Cleveland), while a later scene at a “Salute to the Sixties” industry event includes performances by Sam & Dave, The Lovin’ Spoonful and Tiny Tim. That year, Simon also released an album of the same name, featuring different versions of the songs in the film, and “Late in the Evening” went on to hit number 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and snagged a Grammy nomination.