On this day in music history: February 7, 1976 - “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” by Paul Simon hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 3 weeks. Written by Paul Simon, it is the lone solo chart topper for the Newark, NJ born singer. songwriter and musician. Like much of the album “Still Crazy After All These Years”, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” is inspired by end of his marriage and divorce from his wife Peggy, whom he had married to for six years. The songs’ unique rhythm comes about when drummer Steve Gadd is warming up before the session, playing drumming exercises called “paradiddles”. Simon likes it so much that he makes it part of the arrangement. Background vocals on “50 Ways” are sung by Phoebe Snow, Patti Austin and Valerie Simpson. Issued as the second single from “Still Crazy”, it will Entering the Hot 100 at #74 on December 20, 1975, it leaps to the top of the chart seven weeks later. The success of the single sends “Still Crazy After All These Years” to number one on the Billboard Top 200, winning the Grammy Award for Album Of The Year in 1976. In his acceptance speech, Simon jokingly thanks Stevie Wonder for not having released an album in 1975, since he had won the album of the year prize in the two previous years consecutively. “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
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