Friday, July 04, 2008

Paul Simon - "American Tune" (1975)

One of the commenters on this YouTube clip notes that the chord progression comes from Bach. Another wonders who Bach stole it from.

Update: Now I think I know the answer. It struck me that "American Tune" is closely based on the Tom Glazer labor anthem "Because All Men Are Brothers". This website states that the tune for that song was Bach's O Haupt voll Blut und Wunden (also the basis for the English passion hymn "O Sacred Head Now Wounded") from the St. Matthew Passion. Bach, in turn, based this on H. L. Hassler's Mein Gmüth ist mir verwirret, in Venusgärtlein (Nuremberg, 1613). Now we can wonder where Hassler got it.