Talk to Me

E66: Bruce Headlam, co-author of ”Miracle and Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon” (with Malcolm Gladwell)

April 8, 2022

Listen as "Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon," co-author Bruce Headlam chats with Michael Angelo Caruso on the "Talk to Me " podcast.

The audiobook features commentary by Sting, Roseanne Cash, and Aaron Lindsey.

Talking points include:

1:00 The genesis of the "music biography" 2:30 How the Broken Record podcast with Gladwell and Rick Rubin 4:30 Is Paul Simon our greatest English-speaking lyricist 6:00 Simon's expansive career, deep creative well; grit and tenacity 7:30 Simon's mom like Art Garfunkel's voice better

9:00 Simon and Garfunkel's first hit, "Sound of Silence" wasn't a hit at all 10:15 Unending musical experimentation 11:40 Creating without a plan 13:00 Story of "Only Living Boy in New York" (echo!) 14:30 The Headlam-Gladwell back story 17:00 Bruce edited 10,000 articles for the New York Times

22:00 The weaving writing method used by Gladwell and Michael Lewis 24:00 Writing rhythms, cadence, letting the text breathe 25:30 Journalism (inverted pyramid) vs book writing (development) 28:15 A new kind of biography (part interview, part music, part narrator) 29:30 Paul Simon's favorite rock song (it's Elvis!)

30:30 "Drama free" storytelling (nothing about divorce, lawsuits, grudges) 32:00 "Ideas, not warts" 33:00 The Pushkin team wrangled music permissions and licenses 33:30 Simon sold his catalog to Sony during audiobook production! 38:00 Paul changes from "Rhymin' Simon" to rhythm and beats

39:15 How "Cecelia" laid the ground work for the "Rhythm of the Saints" 40:00 Bruce gets to play guitar with the great Paul Simon! 43:00 Creating content that's a little above the audience's head

Bruce's new project called "Abentine," is in development.

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