Personnel includes: Paul Simon (vocals, guitar); Linda Ronstadt, The Everly Brothers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, General M.D. Shirinda, The Gaza Sisters, Joseph Shabalala (vocals); Adrian Belew (guitar, syntesizer guitar); Chikapa "Ray" Phiri, Daniel Xilakazi (guitar); Demola Adepoju (pedal steel); Forere Motloheloa, Jonhjon Mikhalali (accordion); Alex Foster (alto sax); Lenny Pickett (tenor sax); Ronnie Cuber (baritone saxophone); Earl Gardner, Jon Faddis, Randy Brecker, Lew Soloff, Alan Rubin (trumpet); Rob Mounsey (synthesizer); Baghiti Khumalo (bass); Vusi Khumalo (drums); Lulu Masilela (tambourine); Youssou N'Dour, Makhaya Mahlangu Ralph McDonald, Babacar Faye, Assane Thiam (percussion).
Los Lobos: Cesar Rosas (vocals, guitar); David Hildago (vocals, guitar, accordion); Steve Berlin (saxophone); Conrad Lozano (bass); Louie Perez, Steve Gadd (drums).
Engineers include: Roy Halee, Peter Thwaites, Mark Cobrin.
Aired on VH-1 and PBS, GRACELAND includes interviews, performances, and additional footage not previously seen.
Audio Remasterer: Greg Calbi.
Liner Note Authors: Jesse Kornbluth; Paul Simon.
Recording information: Abbey Road Studios, London, England (03/06/1985); Amigo Studios, Los Angeles, U.S.A. (03/06/1985); Master-Trak Enterprises Crowley, LA, U.S.A. (03/06/1985); Ovation Studios, Johannesburg, R.S.A. (03/06/1985); The Hit Factory, New York, U.S.A. (03/06/1985); Abbey Road Studios, London, England (10/10/1985/01/??/2012); Amigo Studios, Los Angeles, U.S.A. (10/10/1985/01/??/2012); Master-Trak Enterprises Crowley, LA, U.S.A. (10/10/1985/01/??/2012); Ovation Studios, Johannesburg, R.S.A. (10/10/1985/01/??/2012); The Hit Factory, New York, U.S.A. (10/10/1985/01/??/2012).
Director: Joe Berlinger.
Editor: Joshua Pearson.
Photographers: Rob Klein; Peter Thomsen; Harrison Funk; Mark Sexton; Louis Vincent; Isaiah Wyner; Luise Gubb; Paul Simon.
The simple answer to the question, "What made Graceland the most successful album of Paul Simon's solo career and one of the best albums of the 1980s?" is that Simon hit on the idea of combining his always perceptive songwriting with the little-heard mbaqanga music of South Africa, creating a fascinating hybrid that re-enchanted his old audience and earned him a new one. It is true that the South African angle (including its controversial aspect during the apartheid days) was a powerful marketing tool and that the catchy music succeeded in presenting listeners with that magical combination: something they'd never heard before that nevertheless sounded familiar. But there was more to it than that. For one thing, the album, as eclectic as any Simon had made, also delved into zydeco on "That Was Your Mother" (on which Simon was accompanied by Good Rockin' Dopsie & the Twisters) and into conjunto-flavored rock & roll on "All Around the World or the Myth of Fingerprints" (on which he was accompanied by Los Lobos). For another, beyond its aural delights, Graceland marked a surprising new lyrical approach (though it was presaged by some songs on Hearts and Bones, if anyone was listening). For the most part, Simon abandoned a linear, narrative approach to his words, instead drawing highly poetic ("Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes"), abstract ("The Boy in the Bubble"), and satiric ("I Know What I Know") portraits of modern life, often charged by striking images and turns of phrase torn from the headlines or overheard in contemporary speech. When combined, the unusual musical contexts and surprising lyrics (along with Simon's own ease and confidence as a singer) made for a creative rebirth for an artist already known for a string of artistic accomplishments. As a result, Graceland went multi-platinum, won Grammys for Album of the Year and Record of the Year (for the title song), and became the standard against which subsequent musical experiments by major artists were measured. (Besides, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.)
[The 25th Anniversary edition of Graceland arrives in several