"Kodachrome" was written by Paul Simon....
When I think back
On all the crap I learned in high school
It's a wonder
I can think at all
And though my lack of education
Hasn't hurt me none
I can read the writing on the wall

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

If you took all the girls I knew
When I was single
And brought them all together for one night
I know they'd never match
My sweet imagination
Everything looks worse in black and white

Kodachrome
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the world's a sunny day
I got a Nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away

Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Leave your boy so far from home
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away
Mama don't take my Kodachrome
Mama don't take my Kodachrome away


Lyrics submitted by kevin, edited by MonkeyShaman, emilym

"Kodachrome" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Kodachrome song meanings
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32 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentWhen I think back on all the crap I learned in high school
    It's a wonder I can think at all

    Best lyrics ever. This song is about how nostalgia doesn't match reality but we still prefer nostalgia and memory.
    soapyon November 16, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentcatherineks is right on the money. it's a light song that brings to mind a warm summer sunset. but paul also gives it substance. the "crap in high school" part is genius (as most of us can likely attest). the second verse takes the cake, in my humble opinion. the reflection on all the girls he's ever known and the idea of bringing them all together...sweet nostalgia. it's also ingenius to incorporate photography terms in the midst of it. "everything looks worse in black and white" classic song, paul simon.
    the grey foolon March 31, 2003   Link
  • +1
    General CommentKodachrome is a song about memories and how they don't match reality.

    Memories are represented by photographs, which are only snippets of what really happened, lacking context, due to time, lack of information or self delusion.

    His mind is the camera that colors his memories.
    FireNexuson May 06, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI always took mamma as being his girl. He's telling her not to take his kodachrome, metaphorically his good thoughts of her. As he states in the 2nd verse, he knows once things go sour, he'll never look back at her as fondly as he looks at her now. The first verse seems to me to be saying something more like, "hey i might not be a genius, but i think i can see when things are going to shit". IMO he basically equates kodachrome to love or the though of being in love. When you're in love, it makes you think all the world is a sunny day. He wants to take a picture to try to capture that moment and those good feelings.
    oofuson February 23, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI'm surprised no one has mentioned my take on it yet. I had always assumed it was a song about drug use. The color film presents the world as beautiful and focuses attention on the specific but simple beauties like the "green of summer" and makes you think "all the world is a sunny day." "Don't take my Kodachrome away" isn't so much about addiction as it is not to take away the only thing that makes life beautiful and bearable, hence the desperation in the coda.
    papkeron January 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHe's saying he likes the different colors of the spectrum. The kodachrome was a camera. Don't take his camera away it gives him reminders.
    Tyler250on May 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthis song makes me feel all fuzzy inside.
    catherinekson May 13, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentKodachrome is a brand of film that is used to produce slides (through the K-14 process). At one point (a couple decades ago), it was THE medium to use for people wanting the best color and archival capacities. Not necessarily anymore, though, since the E6 process has matured.

    Anyway, so many great thoughts in this song... I love this line, "And though my lack of education hasn't hurt me none." How brilliant --- the emphasis on his lack of education is exaggerated by his incorporation of bad grammar.

    I agree with firenexus - he's begging his "mother" (who, in herself, is probably symbolic for the nuturing elements of the universe) not to take away the memories that he's exaggerated in his mind. The real events would probably never match the importance and details that his imagination has given them. Like when you think about a great lovemaking experience with a girl from your past. It always seems to have been more magical than it probably was at the time.

    One other thing I like about this metaphor -- "bring them together for one night," can almost be seen as the way you view slides in a slide projector. "Bring them together," like you would have a box of slides, with all the pretty pictures neatly stacked, one-after-the-next.
    Sir_Larrikinon June 24, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is my favorite Paul Simon song about camera film.
    ondraon September 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Kodachrome" is a metaphor for acid.
    benriceon April 06, 2005   Link

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