a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

50 Ways to Leave Your Lover

Music/Lyrics: Paul Simon

Vocals: Fish

Original Artist: Paul Simon

Original Album: Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)

Debut: 2011-08-08

Historian: David Steinberg (zzyzx)

Last Update: 2015-02-15

The 1970s were a weird time. Disco was considered a valid art form, fashion was taken to questionable extremes, and people made hit records celebrating the joys of infidelity. Four years before Rupert Holmes would record his song about a couple who tried to cheat, only to discover a new bond around coconut based alcoholic drinks, Paul Simon wrote a ditty for home-wreckers everywhere. 

Paul Simon, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” is a conversation between a man who is unsatisfied with his relationship and a female friend. She starts out as a friend just giving advice, but reveals her ulterior motive by the end. If this song were released today, it would be fraught with controversy but between Steve Gadd’s cool drum fill and the funny ways that one could end things – it just was a fun little sing-along. Even The Muppet Show thought this song was kid friendly enough to have it performed when Simon was a guest. Sure, there was a running joke about it being, “50 Ways to Love Your Lever,” but it was otherwise played completely straight. 

The Muppets, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover”

Phish debuted this at on 8/8/11 at The Hollywood Bowl in the middle of a "Weekapaug Groove” sandwich. Fishman took the vocals with a little bit of a hiccup in the second verse. The song was played straight (well, as straight as any Fishman song is) with no vacuum solo or any other wacky instrument. Instead we were just reminded that you could just “slip out the back, Jack” or “hop on the bus, Gus” if you needed to “set yourself free.” This is yet another reason why it’s questionable to take moral guidance from a man who goes by Greasy Fizeek. 

Phish, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” – 8/8/11, Hollywood, CA

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