Secret song for my grandson and me since he was 2 and I was I was 48 | Reviewer: Tata | 6/30/14
Our first grandson and I were alone during a thunder storm and to keep his mind off the storm, we turned the TV to a music channel and it was on. It was the video
Of Chevy Chase and Paul. Since that day, we've texted and called each other about 4 times a year and I called him Al and he returned with Betty. Such a dear secret for us to share. When he was married and about 25 he bought a new boat and put the song on his playlist on his boat stereo . What a tearful moment when he took us riding the first time and turned the song o. Loud!
Angels in the architecture: Ethiopia | Reviewer: Julena | 7/9/13
Ancient churches in northern Ethiopia are full of paintings of angels. I live here, and this verse (cattle, scatterlings, orphanages) makes complete sense to be about this part of the world!!
review below choked me up | Reviewer: TouchedByGrey | 6/7/13
Thanks for writing that and how it means that to you. I saw it earlier on my phone and I came home to find it on my computer so I could respond. I hope your friend is safe, and I hope you get to dance to this song with him again. It's a very special song and I will always remember you two from this, and hopefully the song will develop its own touching meaning for me and another person some day.
The Truth.. | Reviewer: Ace | 6/6/13
Quite interesting reading people's take on the lyrics, and I guess that's what makes music personal.
But truth is in an interview Paul Simon himself said the song's about a mans mid life crisis and the last verse is about his thoughts and impressions of Africa when he first visited. The Betty and Al is an incident at a party when a French musician mistakenly called him (Paul) Al and his then wife (Peggy) Betty all night.
Paul though it was hilarious and wrote that into a song.
a love song | Reviewer: Darlene | 5/9/13
I always liked this song for its upbeat feel good vibe and then it bacame unfortgettable. My previous boyfriend and I who I was very much in love with were dancing together at a friends to this song, we knew our love couldn't last and he looked at me and said "I will always think of you when I hear this song". ......
As life had it, he choose a different path and this song will always be in my heart. He liked alchole and I felt he may be a prisoner to it, and now he is in Afghan fighting a war and the strange archicture and I can't help but be drawn to this song thinking of him so far away.
Many views of a classic to be | Reviewer: Anonymous | 8/31/12
I immediately took the song to represent the struggle of native South Africans against the oppressive colonials from Europe.
I didn't see the other "meanings" in the lyrics. Sorry
Al re-discovered cont. | Reviewer: maggie | 7/15/12
I'm back realising I didn't write how I understand the song: You're in a middle age crisis - family life is in ruin, fake friends around you, you seem to have accomplished sth, yet people do not recognize you and you are not getting any younger. Emotional emptiness. Yet there is "another" world. Far from a rat race, hasty life and evaluations. Where nature almost literally touches you and you can feel Gods creation around you. Where just living is a reason enough to feel happy. Hallelujah!
I like this song as I see it and I hope Paul never says he didn't mean it at all:)
Al re-discovered | Reviewer: maggie | 7/14/12
I first heard Paul Simon with Art Garfunkel in the 70'. I'm from Poland and living behind the iron curtain we got the news a little delayed :) Anyhow, I found Graceland songs great and Paul Simon's music one of the best ones ever. Now, being a mother of a young man in his twenties have had to learn about Limp Bizkit and Parkway Drive. In return, my son has learned about Eric Clapton, Toto and Paul Simon. This is how we have traced down his concert in Zimbabwe and re-discovered Al 15 years after. Look it up in the net (youtube) and you will be amazed with this live version. The whole concert is absolutely brilliant. As we say - it can bring a dead one, back to life. As for Al - fantastic combination of energetic music and thoughtful words. Best of luck to all Al's/Paul's fans and the master himself!
Alcoholism | Reviewer: trisha
The song is about alcoholism. & Betty (Ford) when you call me you can call me Al (cohol). Why am I soft in the middle, Why am I short of attention,,,,etc., etc., etc. Think about it!
alcoholic expats anoymous | Reviewer: andrew
Guys, this is song about aid workers and diplomats. No secret these guys have a problem with alcohol (the AL of the song). They work themselves to death and use alcohol to cope, lose their families and end up an beer bellied middle aged joke(a cartoon). The angel maybe their only hope if they can find them...
This song is very spìritual one, but so deep, in the middle is the middle of our life, i think that the lyrics is about himsel, paul simon,and it touchs me deeper than any song, specially the last paragraph, cause i am from colombia, i never have been out of the country and i know what he is talking about when he refers to all our insanity, to all our abusement and is despectible the way we treath ourselve, not to mention the way we treath each other.
I believe Paul meant that the man is rather weak hearted. He's not able to muster up any dignity or strenght and go fight his battles head on.
Sure, he wants to fight his battles head on, but he fears that he just cannot do it. Thus he mentions ending up as a cartoon in a cartoon graveyard (a joke of a person in a forgotten land I guess).
Not sure if you'll ever return to this page, but I decided to give you my take on your question.
"Why am I soft in the middle
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption"
Poor Africa! | Reviewer: Rashid
Exactly what paul came to face in Africa when he lost his way in life in his country... He shout.. Alleluyah and ameen.. When he see exactly how African are poor in wealth but rich in heart... Love this song! In Africa we survive but we dont live.. Thas wat th song mean for me.. God take me out of Africa.. It makes me pray!
A Funny Wedding Dance | Reviewer: Kim | 12/3/09
My future husband and I are playing this at our wedding. We are dancing our first dance to a song that is slow and makes us cry with happiness for each other, naturally... So we thought in the middle of this sappy love song we would cut into the instrumental part of You can call me Al and we are going to grab a guitar and saxaphone and start doing the dance that Chevy Chase and Paul Simon do in the video. Just to break up the seriousness of it! Shouod be funny, we hope! If you haven't seen the video, do it. You will love the song more than you already do.
About You Can Call Me Al | Reviewer: Param | 11/1/09
The song, like many of the songs in Graceland, are about how Paul Simon came out of a turbulent and tumultuous period of his life. He's lost his love, his career isn't going as great as he wants, and he's not sure how he's going to end up.
In the midst of all of this, he takes a trip to Africa, a land that is completely out of his safety zone. He hears sounds, the sounds of cattle in the market place, scatterlings and orphanages, he sees angels in the architecture, he sees both the pain and the beauty of life on a completely different scale from what he'd ever understood, and he says, "Amen," and "Hallelujah."