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Simon & Garfunkel Songs - El Condor Pasa (If I Could) Lyrics

El Condor Pasa (If I Could) Lyrics By Simon & Garfunkel Songs Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water Year: 1970 I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail Yes I woul

Simon & Garfunkel - El Condor Pasa (If I Could
Simon & Garfunkel - El Condor Pasa (If I Could)

Simon & Garfunkel - El Condor Pasa (If I Could) Youtube Music Videos and Lyrics

Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Released: 1970

El Condor Pasa (If I Could) Lyrics

I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Away, I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound
Its saddest sound

I'd rather be a forest than a street
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather feel the earth beneath my feet
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

El Condor Pasa (If I Could)
  • This song started out as an Andean folk melody that Paul Simon came across in 1969 when he played a week-long engagement at a theater in Paris along with the South American group Los Incas, who played an instrumental version of the song called "Paso Del Condor." Said Simon: "I used to hang around every night to hear them play that. I loved it and I would play it all the time, and then I thought, Let's put words to it."
  • The Peruvian songwriter Daniel Robles recorded this song in 1913, and copyrighted it in the United States in 1933 during his travels in America. When Simon recorded it with his added lyrics, he thought it was a traditional song, as that's what Los Incas told him. When Robles' son filed a lawsuit, Simon had to give Robles a composer credit on the song, with his estate getting those royalties.

    In discussing the song, Simon always talks about it as being based on a traditional Peruvian song, and we've never heard him mention Robles. This wasn't the first time Simon got tangled over songwriting credits on traditional melodies: Simon & Garfunkel's Scarborough Fair / Canticle was based on a folk song, but his arrangement came from a singer named Martin Carthy. Simon was always clear on his influences, but legal misunderstandings were a problem in these cases.
  • Los Incas, who were the group that introduced Simon to the song, provided the instrumentation when they recorded it in Paris with Simon. Their leader, Jorge Milchberg, played a charango, which is an Andean string instrument made from the shell of an armadillo. Simon played acoustic guitar, and other members of Los Incas played flutes and percussion. When Simon brought the track to America, he added his lyrics. This was one of the easier songs to record for the Bridge Over Troubled Water album, since the backing track was already mixed together - it was just a matter of adding the vocals.
  • The title translates to English as "The Condor Passes." The lyrics Robles wrote to the song in 1913 are about returning home to his native Peru.
  • Los Incas leader Jorge Milchberg got a composer credit on this song along with Simon and Robles. Milchberg later became the head of the group Urubamba and remained friends with Simon, who toured with them and produced their first American album. (thanks, Kristy - La Porte City, IA)
  • The Wainwright Sisters covered this for their 2015 Songs in the Dark album. Lucy Wainwright Roche explained to The Sun: "I chose 'El Condor Pasa' because it was one of the first songs I ever learned to play on it guitar and it has a childlike quality to it, but it also has a darkness and sadness that fit in well with the album."

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