A Young Paul Simon Deconstructs the Song ‘Mrs. Robinson’ From ‘The Graduate’ for Dick Cavett in 1970

In April 1970, a very young Paul Simon sat down with legendary television host Dick Cavett to talk about his latest work with and without Art Garfunkel.

As the conversation went on, Cavett brought up the now-iconic song “Mrs. Robinson” from the soundtrack of The Graduate, to which Simon responded by deconstructing the song musically and lyrically. Cavett then asked Simon what the inspiration was when he was writing the. Simon responded that he normally writes in a stream of consciousness and looks for meanings later.

It’s very pleasurable to write in a stream-of-consciousness style and very often you find that what’s in your mind is relevant although at the moment it doesn’t seem so. And so as I was writing I I had no idea that I would say that but I said ‘Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio? A nation turns its lonely eyes to you’ …then I asked myself later what it meant and I said well it means something. It will mean something.

Earlier in the hour, Simon had also broken down how he constructed “Bridge Over Troubled Waters”, a song now celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.