THE 1000 BEST SONGS IN THE WORLD.
529-Simon & Garfunkel-Homeward Bound.
1966-Number 9 single.
Best Bit-At 1.40. It’s Widnes railway stations claim to fame.
Widnes railway station is one of three stations where Paul Simon reputedly composed ‘Homeward Bound,’ the others being ‘Ditton,’ and ‘Warrington Bank Quay.’ The probability is that Simon composed the song in all three. Widnes railway station has a plaque commemorating the event, which is actually the third plaque, as the first two were both pinched by memorabilia collectors.
‘Homeward Bound’ was written by Paul Simon while he was on tour in England in the spring of 1964. He had just recorded his first Album ‘Wednesday Morning 3.AM,’ with Art Garfunkel, and he felt it would be a commercial failure. While on tour he met the 16 year old Kathy Chitty who was working as a ticket-taker at the ‘Railway Hotel’ in Essex where Simon was performing nightly. Simon (see also best songs 200-96 and 71) became infatuated with her, but she wasn’t willing to travel with him to London, and other city’s, resulting in an emotional farewell. Following a performance in Liverpool, Simon was waiting for the morning train, and he began to write ‘Homeward Bound’ on a scrap of paper. Chitty never wanted to be part of the ‘Pop Star’ lifestyle, and married and settled down quietly in Wales, away from any limelight. This was not the only song that Simon wrote about Chitty, as ‘Kathy’s Song,’ and ‘America’ are also about his time spent with her.
‘Homeward Bound’ was the second single release from the duo, now known as Simon & Garfunkel, and first appeared in the UK on their second studio Album ‘Sounds of Silence,’ while in America it first appeared on their third Album release ‘Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme.’ While in England ‘The Sound of Silence’ had become a surprise hit in the States, reaching Number 1 on Billboard, a year after it’s initial release, and Simon flew back to America to renew his partnership with Art Garfunkel.
‘Tonight I’ll play my songs again, I’ll play the game and pretend, but all my words come back to me, in shades of mediocrity. Like emptiness in harmony I need someone to comfort me.’