Simon's 1983 release Hearts and Bones was a major flop but he regrouped, took a trip to Africa and was back in a huge way in 1986 with Graceland and the hit singles "You Can Call Me Al," "Graceland" and "Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes." Graceland gave Americans their first real taste of contemporary African-influenced music, introduced them to the dulcet tones of vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo and set the bar incredibly high for all future Simon releases.
How it's packaged: 9" X 12" slipcase.
What's inside: A very attractive tri-fold insert holds two CDs and two DVDs, encompassing the original album newly remastered, half a dozen bonus tracks featuring demos or alternate versions of "All Around the World or The Myth of Fingerprints," "Homeless" and "Crazy Love," the Under African Skies documentary film, several music videos and Graceland: The African Concert, a 90-minute film where Simon's guests include Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela and available here on DVD for the first time. The insert also holds a thick yellow pad-style notebook holding reproductions of Simon's handwritten notes and lyrics. Also in the box are a poster and a 9" X 12" booklet with liner notes and essays, comments from the involved artists, photos, lyrics and credits.
Martin had an extremely likable public persona; unlike his Rat Pack buddy Frank Sinatra he was always up for a laugh, often willing to poke fun at his own peccadilloes like his notorious appetite for boozing and womanizing. The thing about that is that Martin sang the way he lived and you can literally feel the twinkle in tunes like "Everybody Loves Somebody," "Ain't That a Kick in the Head" and "In the Misty Moonlight." Much of what's included here is very kitschy but that's exactly what makes it so appealing to hipsters. Not your father's (or grandfather's) music? Well, yes it was. But it can be yours too.
How it's packaged: Four discs in a CD size box.
What's inside: Two CDs holding nearly 40 songs from Martin's days with both Capitol and Reprise including "That's Amore," "Volare" and a few rarities along with two DVDs holding a show from Lake Tahoe and another from London that hasn't been seen since it aired on cable TV in 1983.