Cecilia (2:50)

Cover of Bridge Over Troubled Water

From Bridge Over Troubled Water and 74 other releases

By Paul Simon, from the Simon and Garfunkel 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water, when released as a single, it reached #4 in the US charts. The song begins “Cecilia, you’re breaking my heart / You’re shaking my confidence daily…” then ends with “Jubilation! / She loves me again…”

The single did not chart in the UK, despite being released as the follow-up to Simon and Garfunkel’s number one hit “Bridge Over Troubled Water”.

The “Cecilia” of the title is generally interpreted as being a capricious lover, causing both anguish and jubilation to the singer. However, another interpretation is that Cecilia might refer to St. Cecilia, patron saint of music in the Catholic tradition, and thus the song might refer to the frustration of fleeting inspiration in songwriting. St. Cecilia is mentioned in another Paul Simon song, “The Coast” (from his 1990 album The Rhythm of the Saints): “A family of musicians took shelter for the night in the little harbor church of St. Cecilia.”

When the original album was released on vinyl, the song included sounds out of the human hearing range. This has led to rumors that Cecilia was actually written about Simon’s black lab, Cecilia. When being transferred to CD in 1996, producers removed the ultrasonic sounds in order to lower the file size, allowing them to fit a 14th song on the “best of” album. When interviewed, Simon refused to comment. Garfunkel was quoted as saying that Simon had never dated anyone named Cecilia and the song was probably about the dog.

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