Paul Simon’s Oprah endorsement
January 23rd, 2012
02:30 PM ET

Paul Simon’s Oprah endorsement

In the 26 years since Paul Simon released “Graceland,” his album has secured its place in music history. It’s considered by many to be one of the greatest records of all time.

Oprah Winfrey would not disagree.

In the new documentary “Under African Skies,” which is premiering at Sundance, Oprah reveals “Graceland” is her favorite album ever (Stevie Wonder’s “Songs in the Key of Life” ranks second in her book).

When “Graceland” came out in 1986, it was an instant sensation, dazzling audiences with its mixture of Simon’s lyrical prowess and the musical rhythms of South African musicians, including Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

But Simon quickly came under attack by some critics who said his collaboration with those musicians violated the United Nations’ cultural boycott of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

The documentary "Under the African Skies" retraces the controversy, and Simon’s return trip to South Africa last year to mark the 25th anniversary of “Graceland." In the film, Oprah admits that the controversy surrounding the record almost persuaded her to never give it a try.

In an interview with CNN at Sundance, Simon said the intervening years had demonstrated to him that cultural boycotts of the sort imposed on South Africa were counterproductive. Rather, he suggests, the success of “Graceland” exposed many people to what was going on in that country under apartheid.

We asked Simon how he felt that no less a figure than Oprah loves “Graceland," and he revealed he’s known for a while of Oprah’s high opinion. Trying to suppress a smile, he admitted it was pretty cool.

soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. ShakaBoy

    How ironic that after all these years, Ladysmith Black Mambazo chose to boycott Paul Simon’s “tribal homeland” of Israel, joining a group that calls it a racist state.

    For the record, the Dalai Lama is banned from Zululand (Kwazulu/Natal) and Israel is both democratic, multiracial and affords full rights to all its citizens regardless of color or creed. It has even given citizenship to Muslim refugees from Darfur

    January 26, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Anomic Office Drone

    I'm not saying you should get stoned, but if you're already someone who likes to get stoned, try listening to Graceland next time.

    January 24, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. AntiPalinAlaskan

    And, of course, Gayle prefers Art Garfunkel.

    January 24, 2012 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  4. Sokman

    I bet velveeta & s'mores is actually pretty good. Seems it'd be a nice sweet & salty combination.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Sokman

    I'll bet Paul Simon calls Oprah 'Betty', & she can call him 'Al'.

    January 23, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mogwai

    oprah likes something that a lot of other people like already. big fing deal. oprah likes ding-dongs and snickers too.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ?

    I hugged as many as I could today. I think I missed bob though. Maybe he can get one tomorrow, I'm pooped(not like tracie) right now.

    January 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. ?

    @bob what's the matter no hugs today?

    January 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
  9. bob

    Oprah is a big fat turd. See needs constant food to maintain that girth. Quickly get more velvetta and smoores for this cow. Don't forget some Colt 45 and mash tatters. Yeah baby

    January 23, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Seems to be a slight racial inuendo here....pitiful little person you are!

      January 24, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. berz

    I have so much respect for Oprah. If she likes Paul Simon he's probably great

    January 23, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. @moneymix

    All Oprah has to do is tell people she likes something. Her fans and viewers take it from there and fatten not only her peockets but the pockets of the people behind the product she is endorsing. Hmmm seems like a great gig if you can get it. And P.S. I think she does it for the people who arent as "in the know" as she is. We can criticize but she is still one rich chick. I love you Oprah.

    January 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • monkeymix

      Yes she is one rich chick and yes I can criticize her all I want. And I will. She is no messiah like people make her out to be. And you people can be up her butt all you want but, at the end of the day, she doesn't care a fig for any of you.

      January 24, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. carrieanne

    Kate, you will not be disappointed! I LOVE this album!

    January 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kate

    Love oprah. I will have to give his music a try.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Benn

    I would like to officially announce my endorsement for fried taters. MMMMMMMmmmmm fried taters.

    January 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • monkeymix

      Benn, I am pretty sure Oprah has already endorsed fried taters. Quite enthusiastically, it would appear.

      January 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. monkeymix

    Hmm..once again Oprah 'endorses' something that was already deemed great. Kinda like when she 'endorses' classics or Best Sellers for her book club. What is she going to endorse next? Sliced bread? Air?

    January 23, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Katherine

    We were just rocking to Graceland the other day. LOVE IT!

    January 23, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  17. ?

    They have that all wrong. Graceland is where elvis is buried.

    January 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |

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