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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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Essential Simon & Garfunkel

Disc 1

1. Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (Live)

2. Bleecker Street

3. The Sound Of Silence

4. Leaves That Are Green (Live)

5. A Most Peculiar Man (Live)

6. I Am A Rock

7. Richard Cory

8. Kathy's Song (Live)

9. Scarborough Fair / Canticle

10. Homeward Bound

11. Sparrow (Live)

12. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

13. The Dangling Conversation

14. A Poem On The Underground Wall (Live)

15. A Hazy Shade Of Winter

16. At The Zoo

Disc 2

1. Mrs. Robinson

2. Fakin' It

3. Old Friends

4. Bookends Theme

5. America

6. Overs (Live)

7. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)

8. Bridge Over Troubled Water

9. Cecilia

10. Keep The Customer Satisfied

11. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

12. The Boxer

13. Baby Driver

14. The Only Living Boy In New York

15. Song For The Asking

16. For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her (Live)

17. My Little Town

x

Track List: Live From New York City, 1967

1. He Was My Brother (Live)

2. Leaves That Are Green (Live)

3. Sparrow (Live)

4. Homeward Bound (Live)

5. You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies (Live)

6. A Most Peculiar Man (Live)

7. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) (Live)

8. The Dangling Conversation (Live)

9. Richard Cory (Live)

10. A Hazy Shade Of Winter (Live)

11. Benedictus (Live)

12. Blessed (Live)

13. A Poem On The Underground Wall (Live)

14. Anji (Live)

15. I Am A Rock (Live)

16. The Sound Of Silence (Live)

17. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (Live)

18. A Church Is Burning (Live)

19. Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (Live)

x

Track List: The Concert In Central Park (Live)

1. Mrs. Robinson (Live In Central Park)

2. Homeward Bound (Live In Central Park)

3. America (Live In Central Park)

4. Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard (Live In Central Park)

5. Scarborough Fair (Live In Central Park)

6. April Come She Will (Live In Central Park)

7. Wake Up Little Susie (Live In Central Park)

8. Still Crazy After All These Years (Live In Central Park)

9. American Tune (Live In Central Park)

10. Late In The Evening (Live In Central Park)

11. Slip Slidin' Away (Live In Central Park)

12. A Heart In New York (Live In Central Park)

13. Kodachrome / Maybellene (Live In Central Park)

14. Bridge Over Troubled Water (Live In Central Park)

15. Fifty Ways To Leave Your Lover (Live In Central Park)

16. The Boxer (Live In Central Park)

17. Old Friends (Live In Central Park)

18. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) (Live In Central Park)

19. The Sound Of Silence (Live In Central Park)

x

Track List: Simon And Garfunkel's Greatest Hits

1. Mrs. Robinson

2. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (Live)

3. The Boxer

4. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Live)

5. The Sound Of Silence

6. I Am A Rock

7. Scarborough Fair/ Canticle

8. Homeward Bound

9. Bridge Over Troubled Water

10. America

11. Kathy's Song

12. El Condor Pasa

13. Bookends

14. Cecilia

x

Track List: Bridge Over Troubled Water

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water

2. El Condor Pasa

3. Cecilia

4. Keep The Customer Satisfied

5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

6. The Boxer

7. Baby Driver

8. The Only Living Boy In New York

9. Why Don't You Write Me

10. Bye Bye Love (Live)

11. Song For The Asking (Live)

x

Track List: Bridge Over Troubled Water (Bonus Tracks)

1. Bridge Over Troubled Water

2. El Condor Pasa (If I Could)

3. Cecilia

4. Keep The Customer Satisfied

5. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright

6. The Boxer

7. Baby Driver

8. The Only Living Boy In New York

9. Why Don't You Write Me

10. Bye Bye Love

11. Song For The Asking

12. Feuilles-O

x

Track List: Bookends

1. Bookends Theme (Instrumental)

2. Save the Life of My Child

3. America

4. Overs

5. Voices Of Old People

6. Old Friends

7. Bookends Theme

8. Fakin' It

9. Punky's Dilemma

10. Mrs. Robinson

11. A Hazy Shade Of Winter

12. At The Zoo

x

Track List: The Graduate

1. The Sound Of Silence

2. The Singleman Party Foxtrot

3. Mrs. Robinson

4. Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha

6. On The Strip

7. April Come She Will

8. The Folks

9. Scarborough Fair / Canticle

10. A Great Effect

11. The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine

12. Whew

13. Mrs. Robinson

14. The Sound Of Silence

x

Track List: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, And Thyme

1. Scarborough Fair - Canticle

2. Patterns

3. Cloudy

4. Homeward Bound

5. The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine

6. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

7. The Dangling Conversation

8. Flowers Never Bend With The Rainfall

9. A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)

10. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her

11. A Poem On The Underground Wall

12. 7 O'Clock News - Silent Night

x

Track List: Sounds Of Silence

1. The Sound Of Silence

2. Leaves That Are Green

3. Blessed

4. Kathy's Song

5. Somewhere They Can't Find Me

6. Anji

7. Richard Cory

8. A Most Peculiar Man

9. April Come She Will

10. We've Got A Groovey Thing Goin'

11. I Am A Rock

x

Track List: Wednesday Morning, 3A.M.

1. You Can Tell The World

2. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream

3. Bleecker Street

4. Sparrow

5. Benedictus

6. The Sound Of Silence

7. He Was My Brother

8. Peggy-O

9. Go Tell It On The Mountain

10. The Sun Is Burning

11. The Times They Are A-Changin'

12. Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.

Comments

Report as inappropriate
The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls 
And tenement halls...
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I was 17 at this concert in '81, insane! Great memories, fuzzy, but great!! S&G in Central Park, priceless!
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Awesome sauce
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love them
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Simon and Garfunkel is listed under British Folk Music ??? Pandora is messed up
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I just got a flashback to the SUMMER of 69. It was great times you had all the greats and WOODSTOCK . great memories
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Half of the time you're gone but you don't know where!
Here I am~~~~~~~~~
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Loved them then , love them still ☺
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Love them, love the Graduate
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wcp1323
This was the good music
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If they were to get back together even now, they'd still make magical music together. Let's hope they do, before it's too late to....
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Awesome songs even after 40 and 50 yaers
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Hello darkness my old friend.
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Love this song
Very moving
Report as inappropriate
Simon & Garfunkel? Pretty much untouchable. Their music is timeless.
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Love this song
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Good song it makes me fell good to hear it
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sandramcleod 1 7
❤❤❤❤❤
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drock_03
<3
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Seen Simon & Garfunkel at VFL Park Melbourne as a 17 yr old in 83 and have always loved them
Report as inappropriate
krazy2teach
Sound of silence is awesome
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Rock and Feather
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carolekingg
@timothyadam s j r , I'm sorry you were born too late to Be when it was new. It was great being then.
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carolekingg
@mcocdo amen to that! I want to go back and be glad I did. Great music, cheap gasoline, fun T.V. shows and a wild time in the U.S.A. I want to go then and stay then. To hell with the 1970's. I'm so envious of Mrs. Robinson. Kill the alcohol and sex and get to have a perfect life! 1960's California, RICH, nice happy daufhter, nice normal husband, happy friends... Perfect Life!!!
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Love this song omg!!!!
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loissroka
I still want to know: where is, or what happened to GARFUNKLE?
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Why do i give so much love with no return,
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dragonlady60 8 8
I'm FEELIN THIS SONG TODAY
Report as inappropriate
Garfunkel is rich in New York . He has other interests.
What do you think, is Carly Simon harmonizing?
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loissroka
What ever happened with Garfunkle? Anyone? Anyone?
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dragonlady60 8 8
JAYD THIS SONG IS FOR U.XOXO
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dragonlady60 8 8
Good morning...gr e a t Musuc
Report as inappropriate
Interesting. . . I could hear Simon too much...
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Some of my favorite artists!!!!
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Best !music,glass of wine,life is good! Tx guys!
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suekaloustia n
My daughter sent me to an Art Garfunkel concert for my birthday last year, and he was fabulous! He had lost his voice for quite some time, and this was his first tour after recovering - - flawless singing performance with poetry readings and reminisces mixed in. If only he and Paul Simon would reconcile and perform together again, but there are too many hard feelings - - Paul resents Art being cast for movies when he wound up on the cutting-room floor.
Report as inappropriate
Hi. Tony. Simon.
Pease. Wire. Back. Soon
Look. For. Song.
Report as inappropriate
nylentone
The most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s - is the qualifier really necessary? I think they are the most successful folk-rock duo in the history of the world, unless someone can think of others???
Report as inappropriate
Love this song!! Hence the name! ��
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crazycanavan
Yeah totally love these guys xoxo. Definitely the best of this generation.
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This Era will not be repeated. Sorry .
Report as inappropriate
lindy856
I love these guys. Saw them singing together again a few years ago in slc. It was awesome. They are definitely meant to be together to create something greater than themselves. Like a marriage of sorts.
Report as inappropriate
johnnyohania n
Did Simon have the Napoleon complex? Per a recent interview of Garfunkel, he is still bitter and resentful of Simon walking out on the duo.
Report as inappropriate
Jolting Joe has left and gone away
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I aam a rock. First 45 record I bought in 66
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And from the shelter of my mind through the windows of my eyes who is the master of the metaphor its either Paul Simon or Neil Young the smile on my face turned to plaster while the race of my face and my space is moving much faster is it strange I should change I don't know why don't you ask her?
Report as inappropriate
Damn, I remember them in the 60's, I was 6 years old. They are timeless!
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Thank U it doesn't get any better than this
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To bad we can't go back.
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Kathy I'm lost I said though I knew she was sleeping
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