Paul Simon writes moving new song for Sandy Hook victim

The singer sang at the funeral of teacher Victoria Soto in 2012.

Paul Simon
He's back Simon attended a playback of his new album Stranger to Stranger in London today. Image Photo by Jim Dyson/WireImage

Paul Simon told today how the death of a friend’s daughter at the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012 has inspired a song on his new album, Stranger To Stranger.

Speaking in London at a media playback for the album, Paul Simon referred to his song The Riverbank, speaking of the heartbreaking inspiration behind it.

“I knew the mother of one of the teachers who was killed,” he said. “She asked me to sing at the funeral and I did that. This song is perhaps a bit more personal than some of the songs I have done in the past.”

The teacher Simon is referring to was the heroic Victoria Soto, who shielded her students from Adam Lanza’s bullets during the frenzied attack which shocked America.

Victoria Soto
Heroic teacher

When Simon attended her funeral in Connecticut, he sang her favourite song of his, The Sound Of Silence.

“Those emotional experiences are the basis for the song The Riverbank,” Simon said.

“It’s hard to get people to listen to music these days”

The 74-year-old, who has 12 Grammys as a solo artist and with Simon And Garfunkel, was pleased to hear that 50 years after The Sound Of Silence made No1, it has re-entered the US rock charts in the same position with a cover by Disturbed.

And he voiced his frustrations with the current music scene, admitting: “It’s hard to get people to listen to music these days.”

He explained: “I’ve tried to make this album with a sense of space and sounds blending, something that’s entertaining, because if it’s not, people won’t listen.

“It’s hard to get people to listen to music today, except pop or dance. If you’re a singer and songwriter and writing songs that come from way back, then the sounds have to be interesting and fresh to the air to hold the attention of people for an entire album.”

The way they were
The way they were Art and Simon reunited briefly in 2010, but another reunion is not likely. Image Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI

Earlier this week, Simon gave an interview in which he ruled out any chance of a reunion for Simon & Garfunkel, saying it’s “simply out of the question”.

The New Jersey born singer formed the duo in 1964 with Art Garfunkel and wrote all their songs, including number one hits Bridge Over Troubled Water, Mrs Robinson and The Sound Of Silence. They split in 1970, with Simon going on to forget a solo career with acclaimed albums including Graceland. 

Simon is expected to announce a number of UK dates for later in the year in the coming weeks.

Stranger To Stranger is out on June 3.

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