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Simon & Garfunkel

The most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel crafted a series of memorable hit albums and singles featuring their choirboy harmonies, ringing acoustic and electric guitars, and Simon's acute, finely wrought songwriting. The pair always inhabited the more polished end of the folk-rock spectrum and was sometimes criticized for a certain collegiate sterility. Many also feel that Simon, as both a singer and songwriter, didn't truly blossom until he began his own hugely successful solo career in the 1970s. But the best of S&G's work can stand among Simon's best material, and the duo did progress musically over the course of their five albums, moving from basic folk-rock productions into Latin rhythms and gospel-influenced arrangements that foreshadowed Simon's eclecticism on his solo albums.

Simon & Garfunkel's recording history actually predated their first mid-'60s hit by almost a decade. Childhood friends while growing up together in Forest Hills, NY, they began making records in 1957, performing (and often writing their own material) in something of a juvenile Everly Brothers style. Calling themselves Tom & Jerry, their first single, "Hey Schoolgirl," actually made the Top 50, but a series of follow-ups went nowhere. The duo split up, and Simon continued to struggle to make it in the music business as a songwriter and occasional performer, sometimes using the names of Jerry Landis or Tico & the Triumphs.

By the early '60s, both Simon and Garfunkel were coming under the influence of folk music. When they reteamed, it was as a folk duo, though Simon's pop roots would serve the act well in their material's synthesis of folk and pop influences. Signing to Columbia, they recorded an initially unsuccessful acoustic debut (as Simon & Garfunkel, not Tom & Jerry) in 1964, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM They again went their separate ways, Simon moving to England, where he played the folk circuit and recorded an obscure solo album.

The Simon & Garfunkel story might have ended there, except for a brainstorm of their producer, Tom Wilson (who also produced several of Bob Dylan's early albums). Folk-rock was taking off in 1965, and Wilson, who had helped Dylan electrify his sound, took the strongest track from S&G's debut, "The Sound of Silence," and embellished it with electric guitars, bass, and drums. It got to number one in early 1966, giving the duo the impetus to reunite and make a serious go at a recording career, Simon returning from the U.K. to the U.S. In 1966 and 1967, they were regular visitors to the pop charts with some of the best folk-rock of the era, including "Homeward Bound," "I Am a Rock," and "A Hazy Shade of Winter."

Simon & Garfunkel's early albums were erratic, but they steadily improved as Simon sharpened his songwriting, and as the duo became more comfortable and adventurous in the studio. Their execution was so clean and tasteful that it cost them some hipness points during the psychedelic era, which was a bit silly. They were far from the raunchiest thing going, but managed to pull off the nifty feat of appealing to varying segments of the pop and rock audience -- and various age groups, not just limited to adolescents -- without compromising their music. Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (late 1966) was their first really consistent album; Bookends (1968), which actually blended previously released singles with some new material, reflected their growing maturity. One of its songs, "Mrs. Robinson," became one of the biggest singles of the late '60s after it was prominently featured in one of the best films of the period, The Graduate (which also had other Simon & Garfunkel songs on the soundtrack).

It was unsurprising, in retrospect, that the duo's partnership began to weaken in the late '60s. They had known each other most of their lives, and been performing together for over a decade. Simon began to feel constrained by the limits of working with the same collaborator; Garfunkel, who wrote virtually none of the material, felt overshadowed by the songwriting talents of Simon, though Garfunkel's high tenor was crucial to their appeal. They started to record some of their contributions separately in the studio, and barely played live at all in 1969, as Garfunkel began to pursue an acting career.

Their final studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was an enormous hit, topping the charts for ten weeks, and containing four hit singles (the title track, "The Boxer," "Cecilia," and "El Condor Pasa"). It was certainly their most musically ambitious, with "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "The Boxer" employing thundering drums and tasteful orchestration, and "Cecilia" marking one of Simon's first forays into South American rhythms. It also caught the confused, reflective tenor of the times better than almost any other popular release of 1970.

That would be their last album of new material. Although they didn't necessarily intend to break up at the time, the break from recording eventually became permanent; as Simon began a solo career that brought him as much success as the S&G outings, and Garfunkel pursued simultaneous acting and recording careers. They did reunite in 1975 for a Top Ten single, "My Little Town," and periodically performed together since without ever coming close to generating albums of new material. A 1981 concert in New York's Central Park attracted half a million fans, and was commemorated with a live album; they also toured in the early '80s, but a planned studio album was canceled due to artistic differences. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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Selected Discography

Comments

Elvis rendition best not bad
Awesome Song!.. Has anyone else noticed, that in the 60's & 70's; how much bands used made up words, (i.e. lye la lye lye lye lye lye) in their songs, yet they worked. 60's were groovy man, I wish I could have lived through that era... Cheers
Paul is the other greatest songwriter of all time. An honor he shares with Bob Dylan imho. Paul is the consummate craftsman, bringing the history of American song to his writing. A true master with only a handful who share the rarefied air that he breathes.
Saw Paul in central park. Awesome sauce.
Ahhh yes, what a time it was.
arthurdmd
ackerj, they have no idea how good it was. Hendrix, Joplin, Havens, Cohen, BS&t, the Beatles..... . You know from where you speak
dawgman57 = MORON
Yo rip dme bag! You need to be b**ch slapped i moron!
ackerrj
It was a very good time to be an undergraduat e in the late 60's...
Takes me back in time some good memories
jbyrne70
What a gay album cover. Is Garfunkel slipping the sausage to the midget?
I love the song of silence!!!
god I wish I could turn back time
love this song, love this team
Don,t read this because it actually works .You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday, by the love of your life .Tomorrow will be the best day of your life .However if yu do not post this , you will die in 2 days .Now you,ve started reading this don,t stop .This is so scary.Postth i s on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes.When done , press f6 and your lovers name will come up on the screen.This is so scary,becaus e it works .f6
Hearing their work takes me back to a time of innocence and hope.
Cheers! You light up my life, today and forever!!! Tipsy��
bob476206
They were so very unique; they were not followers of other music styles but creative and different. The 60's was the decade of the most abrupt change from one decade to the next, not merrily in terms of music but in morality, beliefs and values and priorities in life and Simon and Garfunkel were on the leading edge of the musical influence of that transition with they unique contribution to lyrics and musical style. Their place in history therefore exceeds the historic music they gave us!
lmjr_1
Paul Simon is a very intelligent complex man. Hard to understand the constant shifts in music. I guess complex people like Simon get bored and continuously are looking at things in a different way from day to day, month to month and year to year. Would love to interview him, David Bowie and Beck.
flapjackface
Don't read this because it actually works. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. However if you do not post this to at least three songs you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading this so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in at least 143 minutes when if done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters this is scary cuz it actually works.
dmorse1973
The lyrics are awsome...and sync with the music...so good:)
The Dick Panthers are better.
ISCAMPBELL98 6 6 1 So, you took a trip,and never left the farm. Hey man, I have been there, back in the early 70,s. took some stuff, saw some s**t, wouldn't recommend it
nvm, thought they were the beatles
ILUVTHESE Guys
My parents use to play them a lot when I was a kid
such an awesome song love bridge over troubled water.
Live at Central Park, I saw on TV with my parents. I was always talking about this Concert. This concert was well above billing. I have always been a fan, just to old to get there on time. This concert brought Simon and Garfunkel right into right before my eyes.<><
Poets of a generation. The guys could write, play, compose and certainly sing. Backed up by Hal Blaine and The Wrecking Crew and other brilliant session musicians. All the ingredients for magic. And then Pandora puts some emo or garbage no talent millennial generation groups on my station and breaks the spell....
who knew silence could sound so beautiful :)
Don,t read this because it actually works .You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday, by the love of your life .Tomorrow will be the best day of your life .However if yu do not post this , you will die in 2 days .Now you,ve started reading this don,t stop .This is so scary.Postth i s on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes.When done , press f6 and your lovers name will come up on the screen.This is so scary,becaus e it works .f6
Don,t read this because it actually works .You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday, by the love of your life .Tomorrow will be the best day of your life .However if yu do not post this , you will die in 2 days .Now you,ve started reading this don,t stop .This is so scary.Postth i s on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes.When done , press f6 and your lovers name will come up on the screen.This is so scary,becaus e it works .f6
S.O.S. Thank you SIMON&GARFUN K E L < > <
These guys account for at least two, maybe three, of the best rock/folk songs ever
mfisher1249
For the same reason there can't be another Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles or van Gogh for that matter. Each is a unique artistic creation of humankind as unlikely as humankind itself. And, regrettably, because music reflects the social times, the current techno world has passed the point it can produce the originality of Cat Stevens, Simon and Garfunkel or James Taylor. Sorry for those of you under 50.
Why can't there be more groups exactly like this one?
The sound of scillence and mr robenson are good song
bridge over troubled waters all time all time favorite song was in jr high 1st time i heard it walking thru a store called broadways in southern ca.
Poets. Free concerts in Central Park world music. ART
The graduate.... . . .
jeaninebrown e
Always loved them! Sounds of Silence still rings in my heart today and forever
great memories
Great duo. Paul Simon is one of the greatest song writers and guitar players of all time.
jeffreymqs64 1
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please stop filling good music pages with that survey thing and the halfassed excuse that it's free
wmcgeorgia
I miss your influence in this world these days. However, thank you.
S**t yeah
claricentp91 7
If you need some extra income you can use BLUDOS.COM this is a way to make cash with surveys for free. It's very simple.
shawnnavuz71 1
If you need some extra income you can use BLUDOS.COM this is a way to make cash with surveys for free. It's very simple.
I love this song allot.
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