The Edmondson Blog

Kathy Chitty

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was released in 1964 and included the original acoustic version of The Sound of Silence. The album was initially a flop. At this time folk music was becoming popular in England so Simon moved to England without Garfunkel and started working around the English folk clubs and coffee houses.

He met Kathleen Mary “Kathy” Chitty at the very first English folk club he played at, the Railway Inn Folk Club in Brentwood, Essex, on 12th April, 1964 where she worked. She was 17, he was 22 and they fell very much in love. Later that year they visited the US together, touring around mainly by bus.

Kathy returned to England on her own with Simon returning to her some weeks later. During this separation he wrote America, clearly a love song to Kathy, that lays bare the extent to which he was missing her:

"Kathy, I'm lost," I said, though I knew she was sleeping
"I'm empty and aching and I don't know why"

During their separation he also wrote Kathy’s Song:

I gaze beyond the rain-drenched streets
To England where my heart lies.
My mind's distracted and diffused
My thoughts are many miles away
They lie with you when you're asleep
And kiss you when you start your day.

When he was back in London he recorded the album The Paul Simon Songbook that included Kathy’s Song, and had a photo of Simon and Kathy on the cover.

In the meantime, The Sound of Silence started to receive some air-play in the US. The producer, Tom Wilson, without consulting Simon or Garfunkel, overdubbed the original acoustic recording with electric guitar and base, and drums. This new version entered the US charts and by the end of 1965 became No. 1. Simon felt the need to return to the US to continue his career. Kathy was quite shy and some accounts tell that Kathy wanted no part of the success and fame that awaited Simon. They split up.

Simopn didn't hear from Kathy for over 20 years. In 1986, during his success with Graceland he received a letter from her. In 1991, while on tour in the UK, Kathy and her family attended Simon´s show in Sheffield. Simon would confirm her attendance at the Old Friends Reunion Tour stop at Hyde Park in July 2004.

Kathy is a very private person, all attempts by the press to cajole information or her whereabouts out of Simon have failed. As far as anybody knows, she is now a grandmother with three grown-up children and living in the Welsh mountains (where she has lived most of her life) working part-time at a technical college.

During his time in England Simon wrote Homeward Bound sat on Widnes Railway Station. It is also widely interpreted that this song is also about Kathy:

I wish I was homeward bound
Home, where my thoughts escaping
Home, where my musics playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me.

The station has a plaque commemorating the history of this song. When this went missing a few years ago, they invited Kathy to unveil the replacement but she declined.

Paul Simon and Kathy Kitty on the cover of The Paul Simon Song Book.

1 Responses to “Kathy Chitty”

  1. # Blogger Musings

    Thanks for this, I always wondered... the big question is, why did they break up? why? it doesn't add up. He's never seemed to care as much about anyone else, or if he has, it hasn't been reflected in his songs...  

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