Singer-songwriter Paul Simon has revealed that he’s lost most of the hearing in his left ear.
In an interview with The Times, the famed rocker confessed that the ailment came on “quite suddenly.”
“Nobody has an explanation for it,” Simon explained. “So everything became more difficult. My reaction to that was frustration and annoyance; not quite anger yet, because I thought it would pass, it would repair itself.”
That hasn’t happened, and Simon – who retired from touring in 2018, but has occasionally performed one-off shows – admitted that the continuing hearing issue would likely rule out concerts of any type.
On the topic of performing, Simon further revealed that he’d developed a love-hate relationship with his music.
“The songs of mine that I don’t want to sing live, I don’t sing them,” he explained. “Sometimes there are songs that I like and then at a certain point in a tour, I’ll say, ‘What the fuck are you doing, Paul?’ Quite often that would come during ‘You Can Call Me Al.’ I’d think, ‘What are you doing? You’re like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road, go home.’”
Simon recently released Seven Psalms, the fifteenth solo album of his impressive career. Unlike his previous, radio-ready material, the new LP is more of a conceptual piece, offering meditations on faith, spirituality and mortality. These topics also come to the forefront when Simon, now 81, thinks about his own health problems.
“Boy, have I been beaten up in these last couple of years,” the singer admitted, noting a vicious bout of COVID on top of the aforementioned hearing loss. Asked about the deaths of Gordon Lightfoot and Jeff Beck, Simon was even more forthcoming: “My generation’s time is up.”
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