The Story Behind the Simon and Garfunkel Song ‘Homeward Bound’

Songs about home often evoke an emotion or two. Just as we at Coldwell Banker Real Estate feel that home has much more value to it than dollar signs and bar charts would show, songwriters come to a similar conclusion as their lyrics and melodies of home effect multiple senses that transport us to a specific place or moment in time.

There are countless songs that talk about home. After reading that first sentence, I’m sure one or two of them have popped into your head. The tune will probably linger in your mind for the better part of the day, but chances are that’s not such a bad thing.

Songs about home often evoke an emotion or two. Just as we at Coldwell Banker Real Estate feel that home has much more value to it than dollar signs and bar charts would show, songwriters come to a similar conclusion as their lyrics and melodies of home effect multiple senses that transport us to a specific place or moment in time.

One song that does that better than most is Homeward Bound.

Written by Paul Simon, the song was the second single released by Simon and Garfunkel and followed their first #1 hit, Sound of Silence. Penned by a 24 year old Simon, there are multiple origin stories for this Billboard hit, but the most popular one has multiple effects on the impact of the lyrics.

A plaque seen at Widnes Station in England.

As the story goes, Paul Simon was performing in various places across England and was ready to return back to London where his girlfriend, Kathy Chitty, was waiting for him. His train ran into some serious delays at Widnes Station and with time on his hands he started to write.

Simon began to write about what every weary traveler has felt at one time or another: the feeling of just wanting to be home. Not being in a house. Not being in a mansion. Not even being in a specific location. Just wanting to be home. I’ve been on my fair share of delayed flights and the lyrics of Homeward Bound certainly reflect the sentiment I often feel:

Homeward bound,
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.

While Simon wanted to get home to his girlfriend, in interviews he’s also alluded to the fact that there was a double meaning in those words. He had spent a long time travelling in England, and there’s a suggestion that he longed to be heading back to his real home in the United States. Actually, Simon is originally from Newark, New Jersey so as a Jersey boy I like to think he’s longing for the Garden State.

In another week many of us will also be “homeward bound” as Thanksgiving takes its turn on the calendar. It’s the most traveled holiday of the year where millions of people head home. College kids, distant relatives and even family in close proximity will gather around a table, a TV set or perhaps a kitchen sink and share what the true meaning of home is all about.

It’s not the turkey or the stuffing or the football. All those things are favorites of mine, but what makes Thanksgiving so great is the time spent enjoy everything that makes a house a home. The time with family. The backyard football game with friends. The armchair quarterback convention in the family room. The stories shared. The running children through the halls. The late night leftovers with siblings. All these things are what makes Thanksgiving a holiday to remember, but they’re also what makes our homes so wonderful.

I’m guessing those are the things Paul Simon was thinking about when he sat in Widnes Station annoyed with the delayed trains, but his thoughts, memories and hopes for home helped him pass the time.

I hope this coming week finds you homeward bound in one way or another. Whether you’ll be on a plane, train or just a short commute, I trust your journey ends in a place you can call home.

Here’s to being Homeward Bound and all the things that make a house a home.

Husband. Father. Socializer. Mets Lifer. TV Afficianado. Consumer Engager.

David Marine is the Vice President of Brand Engagement for Coldwell Banker where he oversees the brand’s content strategy including acting as managing editor for the Coldwell Banker blog and heading up video production efforts. While Vice President by day, David runs a three ring circus at night as he is the father of 4 boys. He also happens to be married to Wonder Woman. True story.

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