Paul Simon Reveals Sudden Hearing Loss

Paul Simon has lost much of his hearing in his left ear and does not believe he will tour ever again. The musician added that he is no longer interested in performing his old songs as well. Simon, 81, just released his latest solo album, Seven Psalms, his first collection of new material since 2016.

Simon said his hearing loss happened while he was writing Seven Psalms. "Quite suddenly, I lost most of the hearing in my left ear, and nobody has an explanation for it," Simon told the U.K.'s The Times, via Deadline. "So everything became more difficult." He hoped it would pass, but his hearing has not improved.

The "Me and Julio Down By the School Yard" singer does not think he will tour again, partly because of his hearing loss. He also fought COVID in 2020 and is not interested in performing his best-known songs onstage. His struggle with COVID left him "physically frail," according to The Times.

"The songs of mine that I don't want to sing live, I don't sing them," Simon told The Times. "Sometimes there are songs that I like and then at a certain point in a tour, I'll say, 'What the f— are you doing, Paul?' Quite often that would come during 'You Can Call Me Al.' I'd think, 'What are you doing? You're like a Paul Simon cover band. You should get off the road, go home.'"

Elsewhere in the interview, Simon reflected on the deaths of Gordon Lightfoot and Jeff Beck in recent months. "It's just the age we're at...My generation's time is up," the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer noted.

Simon's latest album is his first record of new material since 2016's Stranger to Stranger and his first album overall since In The Blue Light, a 2018 collection of re-recordings of lesser-known songs. Seven Psalms is presented as a single 33-minute track and features guest appearances from trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and Simon's wife, Edie Brickell. Alex Gibney (The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley) also directed an upcoming documentary about the album.

"On January 15th, 2019, I had a dream that said, 'You're working on a piece called Seven Psalms,'" Simon said in a trailer for the album. "The dream was so strong that I got up and I wrote it down. But I had no idea what that meant. Gradually, information would come." He also described the piece as "an argument I'm having with myself about belief or not."