Simon immortalised Widnes Station
Widnes railway station, hitherto an unremarkable stop on the Liverpool-Warrington-Manchester
line, has become the stuff of music legend, thanks to a home and
lovesick Paul Simon. It was here, in 1965, that the singer/songwriter
had the inspiration to for the song “Homeward Bound”, Simon and
Garfunkel’s first UK hit.
As a later encyclopaedia of rock put it: “It was whilst waiting
for the milk train on Widnes Station, after a local folk club gig
in 1965, that Paul Simon - yearning to be back in Londom in the
arms of his beloved Kathy - began writing Homeward Bound.”
Then virtually unknown, Paul Simon spent four nights in the Cheshire
town, perrforming at the Howff Folk Club. His next stop was to be
in Hull. Geoff Speed, who booked him for the Widnes date, recalled:
“I remember he talked a lot about Kathy, the girlfriend he had in
He was determined to be a success, and I remember him saying, ‘If
I’m not a dollar millionaire by the time I’m thirty, I’ll consider
myself a failure’.” He was, of course, a huge success, producing
with his school friend, Art Garfunkel, some of the most popular
and memorable songs written - Sounds of Silence, Mrs Robinson, The
59th Bridge Street, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.
By his own admission, he would never forget the time he spent in
England and the song which has immortalised Widnes Station (formerly
called Farnworth) expresses beautifully that home is where the heart
is ! I wish I was homeward bound. Home, where my thought’s escaping.
Home, where my music’s playing. Home, where my love lies waiting
silently for me.
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