"You Can Call Me Al" as written by and Paul Simon....
A man walks down the street
He says, "Why am I soft in the middle, now?
Why am I soft in the middle?
The rest of my life is so hard
I need a photo-opportunity
I want a shot at redemption
Don't want to end up a cartoon
In a cartoon graveyard"
Bonedigger, Bonedigger
Dogs in the moonlight
Far away in my well-lit door
Mr. Beerbelly, Beerbelly
Get these mutts away from me
You know, I don't find this stuff amusing anymore

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al

A man walks down the street
He says, "Why am I short of attention?
Got a short little span of attention
And, whoa, my nights are so long
Where's my wife and family?
What if I die here?
Who'll be my role model
Now that my role model is gone, gone?"
He ducked back down the alley
With some roly-poly little bat-faced girl
All along, along
There were incidents and accidents
There were hints and allegations

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al
Call me Al

A man walks down the street
It's a street in a strange world
Maybe it's the third world
Maybe it's his first time around
Doesn't speak the language
He holds no currency
He is a foreign man
He is surrounded by the sound, the sound
Cattle in the marketplace
Scatterings and orphanages
He looks around, around
He sees angels in the architecture
Spinning in infinity
He says, "Amen and Hallelujah!"

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can be your long lost pal
I can call you Betty
And Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al
Call me

Na na na na, na na na na
Na na na na, na na na-na na-na
Na na na na, na-na na-na na na
Na na na na, na na na na

If you'll be my bodyguard
I can call you Betty
If you'll be my bodyguard
I can call you Betty
If you'll be my bodyguard


Lyrics submitted by bonj, edited by Mozbo

"You Can Call Me Al" as written by Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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You Can Call Me Al song meanings
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  • +8
    General CommentThe video notwithstanding, I think of this song as coming from the perspective of a sheltered American lost in another culture. Believe me, when I moved to a large African city some time ago, this song became my favorite, since I identified so much with it. I especially like the last verse where the man finally sees the good in things, and realizes he doesn't have to be in his familiar surroundings to be comfortable. I so identify with that moment.

    I realize I may be reading way too much into this, but at that point in my life the song meant so much to me. BTW it was recorded in South Africa, not a thousand miles from where I was living.

    I also love the four measure bass solo towards the end of the song. It is so smooth and rhythmic it must have been played by an African. Listen to authentic African music for a while and you'll understand what I mean.

    The Graceland album, along with Paul's follow-up project called The Rhythm of the Saints (recorded in South America), are quite refreshing to one with a wide cultural world view. Everything here is so damned Americanized, and we almost force our culture and language upon visitors and immigrants. As Paul Simon realized, there is so much to be enjoyed by indulging in the language, music, and culture of others.

    Garare //uba /i !omse.
    madawabon April 14, 2005   Link

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