American Express: Songwriter wishes he had toured without it

March 07, 1991|By Roger Catlin | Roger Catlin,The Hartford Courant

Paul Simon regrets his decision to have his current tour sponsored by American Express Gold Card, after receiving criticism that it was elitist. The Gold Card carries a $75 annual fee and is issued only to approved applicants older than 18 with a minimum annual salary of $20,000.

Critics say the sponsorship doesn't fit Simon's image as a socially conscious singer-songwriter.

In an interview, Simon called corporate sponsorship for his tour, which employs 17 musicians, "an economic fact of life."

He said he chose American Express because "it seemed like a kind of institutional, benign sponsorship as opposed to a beer or a cigarette or even a soft drink."

He said he didn't understand that it was a Gold Card sponsorship, "and it's absolutely my fault; I wasn't paying attention."

"If people think that I chose to do an elitist thing, I'm sorry. That's not really what I would have chosen. If I made a mistake, I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about it now."

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