“Ohhh, what a song! I’m getting Yiddish – ‘Oh, what a song!’ The 2000 Year Old Man knows this song.
“I’m so proud of it, obviously. I killed to get that first verse just right because I knew where it was going. I recorded it back-to-front – the vocal on the last verse went down on tape first. The pole vault that is the last verse is one of life’s great experiences for me. I didn’t know I could be such an Olympian and go over the vault. The second verse is a set-up for the last, and I found it easiest to sing.
“What can you say about Bridge Over Troubled Water? It’s a brilliant Paul Simon hymn with a Baptist flavor that he showed me one day in his East End Avenue apartment, and I fell out for it.
“It’s maybe his best song. When he sang it for me, he had to do it in his very beautiful flutey falsetto. I remember saying, ‘Gee, that’s so pretty. We never exploit your falsetto; that’s another color we can play. Perhaps this is the song.’ And Paul said, ‘No, no, I wrote this for you, Artie.’ And I thought, OK, cool. I’ll take it very happily. And I went to town on it like a hungry man eats steak.”