Published: 22 March, 2012
by ROISIN GADELRAB
I owe Paul Simon. During those miserable teenage months cramming for school exams, he and Art Garfunkel were the sunshine B-side antidote to Leonard Cohen’s overcast A-side on my revision mixtape.
On family holidays only Simon’s Grammy-winning album Graceland and Bob Marley could quell the disputes that raged between a multicultural family of six – whose tastes diverged from Christy Moore to Arabic classics, and Boney M to The Fugees to Nirvana – crammed into a car on the long drive through Europe.
To this day, we can recite every single lyric badly out of tune.
Several years later we sent our parents to see Ladysmith Black Mambazo, who were a defining presence on Graceland, for their wedding anniversary.
And now, Simon will be closing Hard Rock Calling on Sunday July 15, by playing Graceland in its entirety to mark the album’s 25th anniversary – a compelling draw to Hyde Park, and one order of six nostalgia-laden tickets waiting to be placed when they go on sale tomorrow (Friday).
Simon will be joined on stage by Jimmy Cliff on songs including Harder They Come and Too Many Rivers To Cross, before Ladysmith Black Mambazo take to the stage for a Graceland reunion, a UK first since 1987.
Also on Sunday’s bill are bluegrass singer Alison Krauss & Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas, who will perform songs from new album Paper Airplane. Grammy Award-winning Krauss has sold more than 12 million albums and recorded hit Raising Sand with Robert Plant.
Hard Rock Calling has almost always got it right. In past years Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, The Killers, Bon Jovi and Stevie Wonder were unforgettable, so there’s a lot to live up to.
This year’s line-up is guilty of a little repetition, with the Boss headlining Saturday, July 14, although I’ve not heard any complaints yet.
Sadly there will be one huge difference between this time and his last Hyde Park appearance as The E Street Band’s hugely popular saxophonist Clarence Clemons is no longer with us, having passed away almost a year to the day of this summer’s Hyde Park date.
Unlucky for those who haven’t managed to score a ticket as Saturday tickets have already sold out and the official website says they don’t anticipate any more being made available.
Supporting on Saturday are multi-million-selling country-pop trio Lady Antebellum and Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty, who penned Proud Mary.
But the big mystery is who will be playing on the Friday?
• Hard Rock Calling, July 13-15. Tickets, £55 + booking fee, go on sale 9am tomorrow (March 23), available at www.hardrockcalling.co.uk