Monday, September 2, 2013

Anna Belle

After Simon & Garfunkel broke through with their "Sound of Silence" song, and their Sounds of Silence album, there was a rush to republish their back catalog. The Tom & Jerry album we have just finished discussing was re-issued in 1967, as an album called called simply Simon and Garfunkel. On the cover, it showed the duo boarding a plane; I believe it is only available on vinyl (the German-issued CD with that photo, Tom & Jerry Vol. 1, has a song list with more than twice the number of tracks).

After another resurgence of interest in Simon in the late 1980s, due to Graceland, even more of this early material was gathered and published in many, many compilations. The earliest of these I can find are Tom & Jerry Vol. 1, which came out in 1993, as did Early Simon and Garfunkel, also issued in Germany. However, I do not know which of these two came out first that year; since Early has more tracks-- 27, to Vol. 1's 22-- let's start there.

Many of these songs were released on 45 between 1957 and 1964, but only the most dogged collectors could find them all in that format. Further, not many of this blog's readers can even play 45s anymore (although I wager more can, percentage-wise, than in the general public!). So I have elected to continue the pattern held to thus far-- discussing entire albums, song by song, and in the order in which they were released.

Track 10 on Early Simon and Garfunkel is "Anna Belle," and it is credited to Jerry Landis, Simon's "Jerry" half of Tom & Jerry (Art was "Tom Graph").  It's a sock-hop number with a healthy helping of rumbling sax.

The song is an ode to the power of confidence and persistence. The speaker is trying to win over one Anna Belle, who is playing hard-to-get.

One of her main reasons for rebuffing his advances is his age, or at least his maturity level. She starts with "Well, later, maybe," and "You gotta keep on waitin'." Later, she clarifies: "When you're old enough."

She may have a point. At one point, the speaker voices his frustration thus: "Ooo-wee!/ Gosh! Oh, gee!"

The speaker, however, says that he is ready, but she is the reluctant one making excuses and stalling: "Stop your hesitatin'."

The song itself is presented as the speaker relating his various conversations with Anna Belle. One went: "I said, 'Let's go to the show.'/ She said, 'I don't wanna go.'/ I said, 'Whatcha wanna do?'/ She said, "I ain't tellin' you!'"

Finally, he is able to demonstrate his desirability sufficiently: "I said, 'Well, watch my stuff!'/ She said, 'Well, I'll take a chance." The speaker revels at even this uninterested-seeming acceptance: "I said, 'Here comes romance.'"

"Watch my stuff," in this case, does not mean, "Keep an eye on my belongings momentarily, would you?" but "Check out my amazing dance moves!"

On The Drew Carey Show, Carey's character once said: "If you can't dazzle, wear 'em down." Our speaker here had to wear Anna Belle down just for the chance to dazzle her.

Perhaps she was working with a different quote in mind: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

Next Song: Ask Me Why


  1. Great website and great song commentary! Any news when a new Paul Simon album will be released?

  2. I am **so** happy I found this blog. Am a big (Read BIG) Paul Simon and S&G fan. I came here searching for the interpretation of the last line in "Save the Life of my Child" - "Oh, my Grace, I got no hiding place." I believe it is a biblical reference (Hiding place = God), but am not sure. I am now hooked to this blog. Thank you very much for all these lovely posts! :)

  3. Thanks! No idea about a new album. Last I heard, Simon was in Asia, still touring to support "So Beautiful." But my news is old. Better check his own site,, or friend it on Facebook.

  4. Gaizabonts-- Thanks. Interesting name-- can you tell me what it means? I have never heard of God as a hiding place specifically. The closest I can think of is Psalm 18:2, "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer" (KJV). Glad you like what I've done, it means a lot.

    1. Another Paul: It's a coined word - doesn't mean anything, as such :) I don't know a lot of the scripture, but a Google search led me to Psalm 32:7 (David):

      "You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance."

      And I reiterate - I love this blog. I am back here, for another post I am writing - should be up soon, re: Old Friends.

  5. You say "for another post" that you are writing-- what is your blog about?

    1. It's a personal blog - no particular theme, really. :) I often post Paul Simon related articles or use the songs as references.