The story goes that it was while he was sitting on a platform at Widnes railway station on Merseyside, waiting for a train to take him back to London to his girlfriend, when Paul Simon began scribbling the lyrics of his haunting song Homeward Bound. However what really happened is more complex.
Simon’s friend Geoff Speed, who provided lodgings in Liverpool for the musician in September 1965, said: “It is probable he wrote one verse in Liverpool and the chorus in Wigan, with the song being finished in Widnes. We heard him writing the tune when he was staying at our house and then we dropped him at the station. He probably finished the song on the platform.”
Great lyrics in great partnership with a lyrical tune combine to give us an unforgettable song. A song birthed not on an idyllic sun kissed beach or isolated mountain top but in the midst of the hustle and bustle of urban life and public space. The music and song that connects often come out of the reality of human life and experience and although informed by the context they are mercifully not bound by it. Rooted in the past and present they can point and encourage us to become who we are called to be. They gift us hope and future… Homeward Bound.
The original Paul Simon version (by Simon & Garfunkel) is readily available on You Tube. Today’s choral version is sung exquisitely by Voces8.