Paul Simon - Graceland
In the early 1980s, Simon's relationship with his former musical partner Art Garfunkel had deteriorated, his marriage to actress Carrie Fisher had collapsed, and his previous record, Hearts and Bones (1983), had been a commercial failure. In 1984, after a period of depression, Simon became fascinated by a bootleg cassette of South African township music. He and Halee visited Johannesburg, where they spent two weeks recording with South African musicians.
Recorded in 1985 and 1986, Graceland features an eclectic mixture of genres, including pop, rock, a cappella, zydeco, isicathamiya, and mbaqanga. Simon created new compositions inspired by the recordings made in Johannesburg, collaborating with African and American artists. He received criticism for breaking the cultural boycott imposed against South Africa because of its policy of apartheid. Following its completion, Simon toured alongside South African musicians, performing their music and songs from Graceland.
Graceland became Simon's most successful studio album and his highest-charting album in over a decade; it is estimated to have sold up to 16 million copies worldwide. It was lauded by critics, won the 1987 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, and is frequently cited as one of the best albums of all time. In 2006, it was added to the United States' National Recording Registry as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important".