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The Late Movies: Simon & Garfunkel's Concert in the Park

31 years ago today, Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel reunited for a concert in Central Park. It was September 19, 1981, and the concert was free -- the plan was to use TV and home video royalties from the performance to renovate Central Park itself, which was in bad shape at the time. New York mayor Ed Koch only came around to the idea of the concert after proposing that the park simply be closed. After "Homeward Bound," Simon ironically thanked Ed Koch, garnering boos from the crowd and a smirk from Garfunkel. It became clear that Simon was joking when he proceeded to thank the guys selling "loose joints," suggesting that half their proceeds would go to the park that night.

Roughly ten years after this concert, Paul Simon returned for a solo performance. I wrote about Simon's Concert in Central Park a few weeks back -- well worth a look if you're a fan. Now settle back, watch the sunset, and enjoy.

The Full Concert

Here's the entire concert in one video. The playlist, complete with start times:

01/ Mrs. Robinson 0:01:20
02/ Homeward Bound 0:04:40
03/ America 0:09:04
04/ Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard 0:13:40
05/ Scarborough Fair 0:17:10
06/ April Come She Will 0:20:55
07/ Wake Up Little Susie 0:23:15
08/ Still Crazy After All These Years 0:25:40
09/ American Tune 0:29:30
10/ Late in the Evening 0:33:45
11/ Slip Slidin' Away 0:38:00
12/ A Heart In New York 0:42:45
13/ The Late Great Johnny Ace 0:45:10
14/ Kodachrome/Maybellene 0:49:30
15/ Bridge Over Troubled Water 0:54:40
16/ 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover 0:59:30
17/ The Boxer 1:03:50
18/ Old Friends 1:10:25
19/ The Sound Of Silence 1:13:20
20/ Late In The Evening 1:19:40

There is an odd moment just after 48:30 when Simon mentions John Lennon's death while performing "The Late Great Johnny Ace" for the first time in public. The song is a tribute to Johnny Ace, JFK, and John Lennon. Lennon had been murdered the year before, nearby, and his ashes were scattered in Central Park. During the performance, a man rushed the stage, yelling "I need to talk to you!" and very nearly reaching Simon. The man was hurried offstage by security guards, and Simon finished the song, only mildly rattled.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"

Because this is a Late Movies post, I've gotta come up with some more videos. So here we go with greatest hits from this performance. The standout for me is this rapturous performance by Art Garfunkel. I literally get chills listening to it. Get ready, folks:

"The Boxer"

There's a sweet moment in the first verse when Garfunkel gets ahead of Simon. They smile and carry on. But it's clear from this (and other parts of the show) that they were suffering from serious disagreements -- the men rarely even look at each other.

"Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard"

I can never hear this song without thinking about The Royal Tenenbaums. That's a good thing, in my book.

"The Sound of Silence"

"We'll make our own fireworks." Damn straight.

What are Your Favorites?

Share your favorite Simon & Garfunkel performances in the comments. Also, this concert is out on DVD and CD if free YouTube videos aren't your thing. Also well worth a read: Wikipedia's page on the Concert in Central Park.

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Scientists Analyze the Moods of 90,000 Songs Based on Music and Lyrics
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Based on the first few seconds of a song, the part before the vocalist starts singing, you can judge whether the lyrics are more likely to detail a night of partying or a devastating breakup. The fact that musical structures can evoke certain emotions just as strongly as words can isn't a secret. But scientists now have a better idea of which language gets paired with which chords, according to their paper published in Royal Society Open Science.

For their study, researchers from Indiana University downloaded 90,000 songs from Ultimate Guitar, a site that allows users to upload the lyrics and chords from popular songs for musicians to reference. Next, they pulled data from labMT, which crowd-sources the emotional valence (positive and negative connotations) of words. They referred to the music recognition site Gracenote to determine where and when each song was produced.

Their new method for analyzing the relationship between music and lyrics confirmed long-held knowledge: that minor chords are associated with sad feelings and major chords with happy ones. Words with a negative valence, like "pain," "die," and "lost," are all more likely to fall on the minor side of the spectrum.

But outside of major chords, the researchers found that high-valence words tend to show up in a surprising place: seventh chords. These chords contain four notes at a time and can be played in both the major and minor keys. The lyrics associated with these chords are positive all around, but their mood varies slightly depending on the type of seventh. Dominant seventh chords, for example, are often paired with terms of endearment, like "baby", or "sweet." With minor seventh chords, the words "life" and "god" are overrepresented.

Using their data, the researchers also looked at how lyric and chord valence differs between genres, regions, and eras. Sixties rock ranks highest in terms of positivity while punk and metal occupy the bottom slots. As for geography, Scandinavia (think Norwegian death metal) produces the dreariest music while songs from Asia (like K-Pop) are the happiest. So if you're looking for a song to boost your mood, we suggest digging up some Asian rock music from the 1960s, and make sure it's heavy on the seventh chords.

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Photograph by John Robert Rowlands. © John Robert Rowlands
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Pop Culture
Take a Sneak Peek at the Brooklyn Museum's Upcoming David Bowie Exhibition
Photograph by John Robert Rowlands. © John Robert Rowlands
Photograph by John Robert Rowlands. © John Robert Rowlands

David Bowie was born in London, and spent his final years in New York. Which makes it fitting that an acclaimed traveling retrospective of the rocker’s career will end at the Brooklyn Museum in 2018, five years after it first kicked off at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

Following a whirlwind global tour, “David Bowie is” will debut at the Brooklyn Museum on March 2, 2018, and run until July 15, 2018. Curated by the V&A, it features around 400 objects from the singer’s archives, including stage costumes, handwritten lyrics, photographs, set designs, and Bowie’s very own instruments.

Together, these items trace Bowie’s evolution as a performer, and provide new insights into “the creative process of an artist whose sustained reinventions, innovative collaborations, and bold characterizations revolutionized the way we see music, inspiring people to shape their own identities while challenging social traditions,” according to the Brooklyn Museum.

“David Bowie is” has received nearly 2 million visitors since it left the V&A in 2013. Due to its overwhelming popularity, the show is a timed ticketed exhibition, with priority access reserved for Brooklyn Museum members and certain ticket holders.

Tickets are on sale now, but you can take a sneak peek at some artifacts from "David Bowie is" below.

Photograph from the David Bowie album cover shoot for "Aladdin Sane, 1973

Photograph from the album cover shoot for Aladdin Sane, 1973

Photograph by Brian Duffy. Photo Duffy © Duffy Archive & The David Bowie Archive

Striped body suit worn by David Bowie during his "Aladdin Sane" tour in 1973

Striped bodysuit for the Aladdin Sane tour, 1973. Design by Kansai Yamamoto 

Photograph by Masayoshi Sukita © Sukita/The David Bowie Archive

Cut up lyrics for "Blackout" from David Bowie's album Heroes, 1977

Cut up lyrics for "Blackout" from Heroes, 1977

Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

Original lyrics for “Ziggy Stardust,” by David Bowie, 1972
Original lyrics for “Ziggy Stardust,” by David Bowie, 1972
Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

A 1974 Terry O'Neill photograph of musician David Bowie with William Burroughs.
David Bowie with William Burroughs, February 1974. Photograph by Terry O'Neill with color by David Bowie.
Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

Original photography for David Bowie's 1997 "Earthling" album cover

Original photography for the Earthling album cover, 1997

Photograph by Frank W Ockenfels 3. © Frank W Ockenfels 3

Print after a self-portrait by David Bowie, 1978
Print after a self-portrait by David Bowie, 1978
Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

One of David Bowie's acoustic guitars from the “Space Oddity” era, 1969

Acoustic guitar from the Space Oddity era, 1969

Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

An asymmetric knitted bodysuit designed by Kansai Yamamoto for musician David Bowie's 1973 "Aladdin Sane" tour.

Asymmetric knitted bodysuit, 1973. Designed by Kansai Yamamoto for the Aladdin Sane tour.

Courtesy of The David Bowie Archive. Image © Victoria and Albert Museum

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