Simon and Garfunkel

From Academic Kids

 was Simon and Garfunkel's last album; the  was one of three number one hits in the  but their only number one hit in the .
Bridge Over Troubled Water was Simon and Garfunkel's last album; the title track was one of three number one hits in the United States but their only number one hit in the United Kingdom.

Simon and Garfunkel were a popular music duo comprised of Paul Simon and Arthur "Art" Garfunkel. Simon and Garfunkel were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s, and are best known for their songs, "The Sound of Silence", "Mrs. Robinson" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water". They have received several Grammys and are inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


Early history

In 1956, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were juniors at Forest Hills High School in New York City who began playing together as a group called Tom and Jerry, with Simon as Jerry Landis and Garfunkel as Tom Graph — so called because he always liked to track "graph" hits on the pop charts. As seniors in 1957, they started writing their own songs in the Everly Brothers' rock and roll style. They managed to record one of their first songs, Hey, Schoolgirl, for Sid Prosen of Big Records. Released on 45 and 78 rpm records, the single — backed with "Dancin' Wild" — sold 100,000 copies, hitting #49 on the Billboard charts.

Simon and Garfunkel audio samples Missing image
Icon of loudspeaker

"Mrs. Robinson" (23 seconds)
The title track from "Bookends" (13 seconds)
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" (15 seconds)
"Scarborough Fair/Canticle" (16 seconds)
"The Sounds of Silence" (16 seconds)
"Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." (11 seconds)

They later performed their hit on American Bandstand, right after Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire".

Subsequent efforts in 1958 did not reach near their initial success, and after high school the duo split, with Simon enrolling at Queens College and Garfunkel matriculating into Columbia University.

In 1963 they found prominence as part of the same New York City folk music scene as Bob Dylan, with close harmony singing inspired by the Everly Brothers, combined with Simon's acoustic guitar playing. Simon, who had finished college but dropped out of Brooklyn Law School, had — like Garfunkel — developed an interest in the folk scene. Simon showed Garfunkel a few songs that he had written in the folk style: "Sparrow", "Bleecker Street", and "He Was My Brother" — which was later dedicated to Andrew Goodman, a friend of both Simon and Garfunkel, and a classmate of Simon's at Queen's College, who was one of three civil rights workers murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, on June 21, 1964.

These three efforts were among five original songs by Simon included on their first album for Columbia Records, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which initially flopped upon its release on October 19, 1964.

First breakup

Shortly after finishing recording, the duo effectively split again and Simon moved to England, where he recorded his solo The Paul Simon Song Book in May 1965. Recorded on three different dates in June and July at Levy's Studio, London, and featuring only Simon and his guitar, it is a refreshing souvenir of the early folk work of Paul Simon. The album was supposedly deleted about 1979 at Simon's request, but was re-introduced on CD with bonus tracks in 2004.

While Simon was in England that summer of 1965, radio stations around Cocoa Beach and Gainesville, Florida, began to receive requests for a song from the album Wednesday Morning, 3 A. M. called "The Sound of Silence". The song also began to receive radio airplay in Boston. Seizing the chance, the duo's U.S. producer, Tom Wilson, who had heard The Byrds' early folk records, dubbed an electric guitar and drums into "The Sound of Silence" track, and released it as a single, backed with "We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin'". The dubbing turned folk into folk-rock, the debut of a new genre for the Top 40, much to Simon's surprise.

In September 1965, Simon first learned that it had entered the pop charts while about to go on stage in a Danish folk club. It hit number 1 on the pop charts by December.


Simon immediately returned to the United States and the group re-formed for the second time to record more tracks in a similar style, though neither approved of what Wilson had done with "The Sound of Silence."

The result was a sequence of folk-rock records, which have endured as well as any in the genre. Simon's lyrics were often insightful and picturesque, but leavened by a consistent dry humour.

On January 17, 1966, the duo released the album Sounds of Silence, which – helped by the title track's success – hit #21, while Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was re-released and reached #30.

Among the tracks on The Paul Simon Song Book that were rerecorded with electric backing for "Sounds of Silence" were "I Am A Rock" (which as a single reached US #3 in the summer of 1966), "Leaves That Are Green", "April Come She Will", and "Kathy's Song".

Further hit singles came, including "Scarborough Fair/Canticle", based on a traditional English ballad with an original counter-melody, and "Homeward Bound" (later US #5), about life on the road while Simon was touring in England in 1965.

More tracks from The Paul Simon Song Book were included with recent compositions on their October 10, 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, which refined the folk-rock sound hastily released on Sounds of Silence.

In 1967, Simon and Garfunkel contributed heavily to the soundtrack to Mike Nichols' film The Graduate, which was released on January 21, 1968, and instantly rose to #1 as an album.

As their albums became progressively more adventurous, The Graduate Original Soundtrack was immediately followed in April 1968 at the top of the charts by Bookends, which dealt with increasingly complex themes of old age and loss. It features the top-25 hit singles "A Hazy Shade Of Winter", "Fakin' It", "At The Zoo", "America", and "Mrs. Robinson", the classic from the Graduate soundtrack, which became #1 as a single.

At the March 1969 Grammy Awards, "Mrs. Robinson" was named Record of the Year, while Simon was also honored with the Grammy for Best Original Score for a Motion Picture.

Second breakup

By 1969, the duo's success began to take its toll. Garfunkel had begun to pursue a career in acting, in Nichols' follow-up to The Graduate, starring as Nately in the movie version of Catch-22. This increasingly frustrated Simon when Garfunkel's leave interfered with the recording of the duo's next album, and it didn't help that Simon's part in the film had been cut before filming actually began.

The duo's deteriorating personal relationship continued into their late 1969 tour, which featured performances at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio on November 11 and Carbondale, Illinois on November 8, recordings of which are supposedly widely bootlegged. Video footage of the tour was shown on their controversial November 30 television special Songs Of America, which TV sponsors refused to endorse because of its distinct anti-Vietnam War message.

Their long-delayed final album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was at last released on January 26, 1970. Its title track, featuring Garfunkel's soaring vocals, was a massive hit and one of the best-selling records of the decade, staying #1 on the charts for six full weeks and on the charts for far longer. The album includes three other top-twenty hits: "El Condor Pasa" (US #18), "Cecilia" (US #4), and "The Boxer" – which, finished in 1968, hit #7 on the charts the following year – as well as a live recording of the Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love" from Ames, Iowa, on their 1969 tour.

At the subsequent March 1971, Grammy Awards, the album and single were named Album and Record of The Year, respectively, winning Grammys as well for Best Engineered Record, Song of The Year, Best Contemporary Song, and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. Their 1972 Greatest Hits album peaked at US #5.

After the pair split later in 1971, Simon went on to a very successful solo music career, recording several classic albums, including There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973) and later on Graceland (1986). Garfunkel split his time between acting and musical releases, with various results. His most critical acclaimed album was the 1978 effort Watermark for which almost all the songs were written by Jimmy Webb.

Subsequent careers

Simon and Garfunkel's first reunion since their second breakup was on an October 18, 1975 appearance on NBC's Saturday Night Live. They performed The Boxer and Scarborough Fair together. Several still photos were shown during the show of the pair visiting their childhood neighborhood in New York City.

The duo has reunited off and on since then, most notably for a free concert in New York's Central Park on September 19, 1981, which attracted a crowd around 500,000 people and was released on LP, CD, VHS, LD, and DVD. The success of the 1981 concert prompted the duo to go on a world tour in 1982 (Europe & Japan) and 1983 (The U.S.).

The pair even started work on what would have been their first new studio album, Think Too Much. But creative differences led Simon to wipe Garfunkel's vocals off the few tracks that were completed. The solo album Hearts and Bones was the result, and a long period of estangement for the duo followed.

Their next public appearance was in 1990, when the two performed at a ceremony for their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Simon and Garfunkel appeared together in 1993 for 21 sold out concerts in New York, with half of the show being Paul Simon solo with a band and the other half Simon & Garfunkel. Later the same year they did some charity concerts, like for the Bridge School Concerts.

In July 2002, Columbia Legacy released a previously unreleased live recording of a Simon and Garfunkel concert, Live In New York City, 1967. It features an almost-complete recording of a performance given by the duo at Philharmonic Hall, the Lincoln Center in New York City on January 22 1967.

On February 23, 2003, Simon and Garfunkel reunited to perform in public for the first time since 1993, singing "The Sound Of Silence" as the opening act of the Grammy Awards. Before the show, the duo was presented with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, honoring their musical contributions over the past four and a half decades.

Simon and Garfunkel held a two-month long reunion tour of the U.S. (and Toronto, Canada), running from October 16 to December 21, 2003. Entitled "Old Friends," their first tour in twenty years ran forty shows in twenty-eight cities and included surprise guests The Everly Brothers.

After that, they planned another Old Friends tour for June & July 2004 with over 25 shows, this time also in Europe.

In July 2004, they performed at the Colosseum in Rome to an audience which, according to news media reports, was probably even larger than the audience at the famous Central Park concert.


See also

External links

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