Paul Simon Tried to Stop Frank Sinatra from Covering One of His Songs: 'I Said, He Can't Do That'

'In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon' docuseries will premiere on MGM+ on March 24

<p>Kristin Callahan/Shutterstock; Bettmann Archive/Getty</p> Paul Simon; Frank Sinatra

Kristin Callahan/Shutterstock; Bettmann Archive/Getty

Paul Simon; Frank Sinatra

Paul Simon wasn't a fan of Frank Sinatra's "Mrs. Robinson" cover at first.

While attending the MGM+ premiere of the two-part Alex Gibney-directed docuseries In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon held at DGA New York Theater on Wednesday, Simon, 82, was asked whether he ever knew the "That's Life" crooner.

“I met him once. It was very interesting too, because he made a cover record of my song 'Mrs. Robinson.' And he changed the lyric[s]. They were fantastic, but when I first heard it, it was like, 'man, ring a ding, ding you Mrs. Robinson, Jesus loves you more,' and this is in the sixties, and I said, 'He can't do that,' " Simon said during a Q&A that was moderated by Stephen Colbert.

<p>Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock</p> Stephen Colbert and Paul Simon at the 'In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon' premiere

Stephen Lovekin/Shutterstock

Stephen Colbert and Paul Simon at the 'In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon' premiere

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"I said, 'I'm stopping the record.' He said, 'You can't stop a Frank record.' I said, 'I am stopping it. Nobody asked me to change and I'm not giving permission. I don't care.' And so a guy from Warner Brothers called me up and said, 'Please don't do this. It's my fault I did it. Please don't do this to me.' So I said, 'Okay,' " he continued.

"And then later I fell in love with that record. And when you play music after the concert is over, that's the first song,” Simon added while speaking alongside Alex Gibney, 70, who also directed the Sinatra doc All or Nothing at All.

Simon and Art Garfunkel first released the iconic song in 1968, before Sinatra dropped his version a year later.

Related: Who Is Paul Simon's Wife? All About Singer Edie Brickell

<p>Kevin Mazur/Getty</p> Paul Simon in 2022

Kevin Mazur/Getty

Paul Simon in 2022

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Elsewhere in the Q&A, Simon spoke about previously revealing he'd lost most of the hearing in his left ear while working on his 15th solo studio album, Seven Psalms, which was released in May 2023.

“That's come back to enough of a degree that I'm comfortable singing and playing guitar and playing a few other instruments," he said of his hearing on Wednesday.

"I can hear my voice the way I want it in the context of the music. If there's a drum or an electric guitar, it's too loud and I can't hear my voice. But when I first lost the hearing, I couldn't get, it threw me off. Everything was coming from this side," the musician recalled.

In Restless Dreams: The Music of Paul Simon is set to premiere on MGM+ on March 17, with the second half arriving on March 24.

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