Everyone is sharing memories of the late Carrie Fisher on social media, even her dog. The icon inspired not just Star Wars geek fan worship but praise for her outspoken thoughts on Hollywood sexism, mental health, and drug addiction. She also inspired music: her tumultuous relationship with Paul Simon was marked by screaming matches, drugs, and insecurities (“when I walk down the street with her, it’s like every seven-year-old in America wants her autograph,” whined Simon), and while it would be easy to dismiss the couple as just another celebrity pair of star-crossed lovers, Fisher’s influence on Simon’s music cannot be overlooked.
Simon’s 1983 album Hearts and Bones — initially considered a failure and later reassessed as one of his finer works — was his tribute to Fisher. Planned as a studio album with Art Garfunkel, Simon decided that the songs were too personal to have anyone else sing them. “One and one-half wandering Jews/free to wander wherever they choose” he sings on the album’s title track (see below), a lament for “the arc of a love affair” of two people who “return to their natural coasts/to resume old acquaintances/step out occasionally/and speculate who had been damaged the most.”