Paul Simon was doing a bizarre interview while promoting his The Rhythm of the Saints album in 1990. He was on the British Saturday morning children’s programme Going Live!, which included a segment where Simon was taking calls from fans. It’s a strange atmosphere, made only more confusing when the caller identified himself as none other than Paul McCartney.
Simon had established a mostly chummy relationship with The Beatles after their break up in 1970. Notably, Simon and George Harrison performed together on the second season of Saturday Night Live, dueting on tunes like ‘Here Comes The Sun’ and ‘Homeward Bound’. Simon must have established a report with McCartney as well, based on their interaction here.
Now there’s no way to confirm that this was actually Paul McCartney on the other end of the line, but it seems like a pretty big ruse top pull off. The voice on the other end sure sounds like Paul McCartney, and so perhaps a slight suspension of disbelief is required. But once you do, the call becomes adorable very quickly.
Simon is obviously surprised by the call, as McCartney gloats that it was “a trick we set up that you didn’t know about.” Paul and Paul get on like old friends, with Simon jokingly making a reference to McCartney’s wife Linda when McCartney asks him why he likes best about Great Britain.
Simon answers McCartney’s question by referencing his own time living in England. In 1964, Simon & Garfunkel briefly broke up, and Simon moved to Essex. While waiting for a pick up at the Widnes railway station (or a station near it), the young writer wrote ‘Homeward Bound’, telling McCartney that he now has “a real attachment to Widnes”.
Before McCartney drops the call, presenters Phillip Schofield and Sarah Greene give him a good natured ribbing about wanting to be on the show for years, with McCartney gamely stating that he’d been “ringing all morning” trying to get on. In the end, it’s all worth it to hear Simon and McCartney participate in this exchange: “Happy Birthday, Paul,” he says, before the response of: “Thanks Paul.” Television gold, right there.
Check out the clip down below.