Before hitting the stage, the legendary folk rocker sat down with Colbert and discussed his farewell tour and the reasoning behind his album of reworked older tunes. When asked if the tour was really his last, Simon confirmed the farewell tour is indeed his last full tour. However, he’s still planning to perform and just donate proceeds to various charities.
Of rewriting the songs for In the Blue Light he said, “I picked ten songs that I thought were really interesting and good songs that didn’t get much attention when they first came out. Either because they were on an album that had a bunch of hits or they were on an album that had no hits.”
Simon added that he picked songs which were his favorites and rewrote parts he felt were “weak.” In some instances, he rewrote lyrics to make the point of a song clearer.
One of the songs the New York native musician performed on the show was “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War.” He told Colbert the song was inspired by a visit to Joan Baez’s house for a rehearsal. He pulled a book of Magritte paintings down from a shelf while she took a phone call. He found what would become the track’s title as a caption underneath one of the paintings.
With the title in hand, he turned to 50s R & B influences from groups like The Five Satins, Orioles, and more and eventually crafted what he described as a “surrealistic song about a surrealist.” The track first appeared on Simon’s 1983 album Hearts and Bones.
The “surreal” sound of the song is amplified in his “Late Show” performance by the orchestral stylings of yMusic’s accompaniment.
Watch Paul Simon’s performance of “Rene and Georgette Magritte With Their Dog After The War” above and a web exclusive performance of “One Man’s Ceiling is Another Man’s Floor” featuring Colbert’s band Jon Batiste and Stay Human below.
Stay tuned to AXS for more on Paul Simon.