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Paul Simon Ponders Retirement: ‘Showbiz Doesn’t Hold Any Interest for Me’

Ian Gavan, Getty Images
Ian Gavan, Getty Images

Paul Simon is riding the coattails of a well-received new album, but that doesn’t mean certain realities haven’t become clear for the 74-year-old.

“You’re coming towards the end,” he admits in a new talk with the New York Times. And, to a large degree, Simons seems okay with that. “Showbiz doesn’t hold any interest for me,” he added. “None.”

Simon said his voice, though still strong, often needs days of rest, and the songs don’t come as easily as they used to. He recognizes the changes brought on by age and by celebrity. “I’ve seen fame turn into absolute poison when I was a kid in the ’60s,” he noted. “It killed [Elvis] Presley. It killed [John] Lennon. It killed Michael Jackson. I’ve never known anyone to have gotten an enormous amount of fame who wasn’t, at a minimum, confused by it and had a very hard time making decisions.”

Should he decide to end it here, Simon’s current tour would provide a nice moment of symmetry. His North American dates conclude with a two-night stand on June 30 and July 1 in Queens, where Simon grew up and met another boy named Art Garfunkel along the way.

He’ll turn 75 while on the road for already scheduled European shows this fall. After that, things remain unclear. “It’s an act of courage to let go,” Simon said. “I am going to see what happens if I let go. Then I’m going to see, who am I? Or am I just this person that was defined by what I did? And if that’s gone, if you have to make up yourself, who are you?”

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