Monday, September 9, 2013

1973: Kodachrome

Climbing up the charts at the time of my high school graduation, Paul Simon’s Kodachrome may have been the only song to make it to the Top Five while sporting a registered trademark for its title. The single peaked at #2 in early summer 1973. One of the most memorable lines of the song is the opening of “When I think back to all the crap I learned in high school, it’s a wonder I can think at all.”

Recorded in 1972 at the famed Muscle Shoals Studios, the song features the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section who also received co-production credit. During the writing process, the working title for the tune was “Going Home,” but Simon wanted the song to be unconventional. The name Kodachrome, a color slide film from Kodak, provided the inspiration; in addition, it had the same syllabic rhythm as “Going Home.”

Kodak’s only request was that the disclaimer “KODACHROME® is a registered trademark for color film” appear on the album and the single’s label. Kodak later used the song as a music bed for TV commercials in the 1990s.

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