SNL Transcripts: Robin Williams: 11/22/86: Paul Simon performs “The Late Great Johnny Ace”


 Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 12: Episode 5

86e: Robin Williams / Paul Simon

Paul Simon performs “The Late Great Johnny Ace”

…..Paul Simon

[FADE IN on a b&w photo of John F. Kennedy, then fade to Simon sitting on a stool and playing his guitar.]

Paul Simon: [ singing ]“I was reading a magazine,
Thinking of a rock ‘n’ roll song,
The year was nineteen fifty-five,
I hadn’t been playing that long.

When a man came on the radio,
And this is what he said,
He said, “I hate to break it to his fans,
But Johnny Ace is dead.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Well, I really wasn’t such a Johnny Ace fan,
But I felt bad all the same,
So I sent away for his photograph,
And I waited till it came.

It came all the way from Texas,
With a sad and a simple face,
And they signed it on the bottom,
“From the late great Johnny Ace.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

[guitar solo]

“It was the year of the Beatles,
It was the year of the Stones,
It was nineteen sixty-four.

And I was living in London
With a girl from the summer before.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

It was the year of the Beatles,
It was the year of the Stones,
A year after JFK.
Oh, we were stayin’ up all night,
Killin’ the days away…

And the music was flowing,
Amazing, and going
My way.”

[guitar solo]

“On a cold December evening,
I was walking through the Christmastide,
When a stranger came up and asked me
If I’d heard John Lennon had died.

And the two of us went to this bar,
And we stayed to close the place,
And every song we played was for
The late great Johnny Ace,
Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

[Paul plays and hums for about 30 seconds, and then strums his guitar to close the song. A pause, then cheers and applause. FADE to a bumper slide of Robin Williams leaning his head on his hand and smiling. FADE to black.]

SNL Transcripts

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Author: Don Roy King

Don Roy King has directed fourteen seasons of Saturday Night Live. That work has earned him ten Emmys and fourteen nominations. Additionally, he has been nominated for fifteen DGA Awards and won in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

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