PetaPixel

A Blast from the Past: Paul Simon’s Hit Song “Kodachrome”

After sharing that short feature yesterday on the last roll of Kodachrome, it seems appropriate to share this once-super-popular song written about the same film.

Simply titled, “Kodachrome,” it was written by American musician Paul Simon after the first breakup of Simon & Garfunkel.

The song appeared on his 1973 album There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, and quickly became a hit both in the United States and internationally. It peaked at #2 on the Billboard US Hot 100 Singles Chart, and was briefly the #1 song on the Canadian singles chart.

Since Kodachrome was a trademarked owned by Kodak, Simon was required to note this fact on the album, and also include a registered trademark symbol (®) after the song’s title. Kodak would later use the song on television commercials promoting the film.

Here’s the album version of the song:

When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It’s a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of edu—cation
Hasn’t hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they’d never match
my sweet imagination
everything looks WORSE in black and white

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world’s a sunny day, Oh yeah
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

Mama don’t take my Kodachrome
Leave your boy so far from home
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away
Mama don’t take my Kodachrome

Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away

(via Wikipedia via Photoxels)


 
 
  • Scott M

    Nice that you have the duo live and albumn versions for comparison. Turns out the solo Simon sounds much better to me. Blast from the past.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1575595511 Mosley Hardy

    With Kodachrome gone for good now, how long will it be before there’s no one left who understands the metaphor?

  • Sam Agnew

    A lifelog regret: I never got around to shooting any Kodachrome. Even now that you could probably find some old frozen rolls the fact that there is no place on planet Earth that can process the stuff (except as black and white — which is pointless) means that the world’s supply of Kodachrome slides has stopped increasing forever.

    Rest in peace, Kodachrome!

  • Al C

    I loved Kodachrome back in the day. It gave you the best reds and greens. But, as a student in the 70s, it cost much more to shoot/process slide film; you couldn’t home process Kodachrome. Most of us ended up shooting primarily Tri-X or Plus-X B&W. We could develop at home and print at the school darkroom. But, Kodachrome printed on Cibachrome paper was gorgeous.
    Then again, today, how many folks can you see seriously taking the time and care needed to compose and shoot at ASA/ISO 25 or 64. How many complain if a camera can’t do ISO 6400?