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Paul Simon opens up about mysterious hearing loss preventing him from touring: ‘Nobody has an explanation’

‘My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance,’ said the ‘Graceland’ artist

Louis Chilton
Sunday 21 May 2023 16:44 BST
Paul Simon performing at the legendary Central park concert in 1991

Paul Simon has revealed that he is being prevented from touring after suffering a near-total loss of hearing in one ear.

The “You Can Call Me Al” singer-songwriter claimed that doctors had been unable to diagnose the cause of the sudden-onset hearing loss.

While the development has apparently made a return to the stage “extremely” unlikely, Simon has just released a new studio album, Seven Psalms, his first in five years.

Speaking to The Sunday Times, the former Simon and Garfunkel star said: “Quite suddenly I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it. So everything became more difficult. My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet, because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself.”

However, he explained that the condition had yet to subside. Despite this, Simon admitted he was not entirely disappointed to have left his live performance days behind him, claiming that he had grown tired of playing many of his songs on stage.

“The songs of mine that I don’t want to sing live, I don’t sing them,” he explains. “Sometimes there are songs that I like and then at a certain point in a tour, I’ll say, ‘What the f*** are you doing, Paul?’

“Quite often that would come during [1986 hit song] ‘You Can Call Me Al’. I’d think, what are you doing? You’re like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road, go home.”

Simon rose to fame in the 1960s as part of a folk duo alongside Art Garfunkel. The pair split up in 1970, though reunited on multiple occasions afterwards. Following the split, Simon enjoyed a successful solo career.

Seven Psalms is out now.

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