For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday theme, Jim Adams has given us Bus/Truck/Lorry. And the song I chose for this theme is “America” by Simon & Garfunkel, where the singer and his girlfriend boarded a Greyhound (bus) in search for America.
“America,” written by Paul Simon, was released on the duo’s fourth studio album, Bookends, in 1968. It was later released as a single in 1972 to promote the release of Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.
The song is about young lovers hitchhiking their way across the United States, in search of “America,” in both a literal and figurative sense. It was inspired by a five-day road trip Simon took in September 1964 with his then girlfriend Kathy Chitty. They were coming back to America from England, and Paul was deeply confused and unsatisfied, but he didn’t understand why he felt that way. His lyrics include the line, “I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why.” He just knew that something was missing.
Interestingly, there are no rhymes in this song. The entire song is prose. There’s not one line that rhymes, which is unusual for a pop song.
Here are the lyrics to the song:
Let us be lovers,
We’ll marry our fortunes together.
I’ve got some real estate
Here in my bag.
So we bought a pack of cigarettes,
And Mrs. Wagner’s pies,
And walked off
To look for America.
“Kathy”, I said,
As we boarded a Greyhound in Pittsburgh,
Michigan seems like a dream to me now.
It took me four days
To hitch-hike from Saginaw.
“I’ve come to look for America.”
Laughing on the bus,
Playing games with the faces,
She said the man in the gabardine suit
Was a spy.
I said, “Be careful,
His bow tie is really a camera.”
“Toss me a cigarette,
I think there’s one in my raincoat.”
We smoked the last one
An hour ago.
So I looked at the scenery,
She read her magazine;
And the moon rose over an open field.
“Kathy, I’m lost”, I said,
Though I knew she was sleeping.
“I’m empty and aching and
I don’t know why.”
Counting the cars
On the New Jersey Turnpike
They’ve all come
To look for America,
All come to look for America,
All come to look for America.