Song Lyric Sunday — Kodachrome

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has given us a theme for songs that mention the words Appearance, Image, Likeness, Object, Picture, or Photograph. The song I chose is Paul Simon’s “Kodachrome.”

“Kodachrome” was written by American singer-songwriter Paul Simon. It was the lead single from his third studio album, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1973. It’s named after Kodak’s now-discontinued film brand Kodachrome, which is a registered trademark of the Kodak company and was commonly known as a type of color film the company started marketing in 1935. Kodachrome was discontinued by Kodak in 2009.

“Kodachrome” peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 as well as on the Billboard adult contemporary chart. Interestingly, the song was not a hit in England, partly because the radio stations rarely played it. The BBC had very strict rules about commercial endorsements, and they would not allow stations to play songs that seemed to push products. The song was also banned by the Federation of (Australian) Radio Broadcasters.

Simon was working on a song with the title “Coming Home” when the word “Kodachrome” came to him. He had no idea what it meant, but knew it would make for a much more interesting song than “Coming Home.” The song became an appreciation of the things that color our world, and a look at how our memories are framed to fit our worldviews.

Simon sometimes sings the line “Everything looks worse in black and white” as “Everything looks better in black and white.” He changes it a lot, and claims he can’t remember which way he wrote it.

Here are the lyrics to “Kodachrome.”

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

10 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Kodachrome

  1. Nope, Not Pam May 29, 2022 / 3:27 am

    I’ve not heard this one, the lyrics seem a bit repetitive 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. newepicauthor May 29, 2022 / 7:20 am

    I remember thinking that Paul Simon was singing “Coat of chrome” when I first heard this, but I did figure it out later. Great choice Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. pensitivity101 May 29, 2022 / 11:42 am

    Never heard this one either…………… that’s at least four new ones on me. Not really my cup of tea, but it’s catchy.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. leigha66 June 13, 2022 / 5:54 pm

    I really like this one… there is not much from Paul Simon I don’t like!

    Liked by 1 person

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