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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

me, too. I wish for the lyrics...... . . . its like not having my favorite coffee.
lzitomer
miss the lyrics on Pandora
couldn't agree more...note perfect harmony
dhhbetton
I really miss getting the lyrics on Pandora! The harmony on this song is just so beautiful!
i love the overlaying voices!!!
why do I wake up at 3 a. m. and drink a cup of coffee
dragonlady60 8 8
I have the movie the graduate...g r t music grt times...
dragonlady60 8 8
Feelin groovy...... . . ! ! !
Great song
love the dark side of the music !!
Im tripping balls offs eating seeds
What is he talking about
Vietnam in those years for me. But i had good times inbetween the war wen i could .

Whàt a great era I came from, long for those days





T
What a God-awful bio here for these fantastic musicians. Since when is the phrase, ...which was a bit silly acceptable in objective writing?
Sound of Silence is okay.
I love Simon a garufnkel
Delicate yet Thunderous both lyrically and musically. Each song moves my soul on profound dimensional levels and seasons my spirit with joy. Artistically this music seems to me more overwhelming and powerful as the nuances and textures of the songs get softer and more subtle...
i like this song, its so nice
One of the most dynamic duo ever!
ALRIGHT PANDY LETS TRY THIS AGAIN ARE U LISTENING ? PLAY YES'S VERSION
Excuse me, enzothebaker 9 9 , but that's not at all what he says. He says, "Hello, Darkness, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again." He was referring to darkness not as racism, but as loneliness, which happens to people when they have no friends. Which happens when you insult people. Ahem ahem.
james.wilson 4 9
Phenomenal talents. They should record at least one more album together soon.
True American poets
You know, for some reason, when I look at the "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album cover, the picture of them makes them look like the characters from "Of Mice and Men." You know, tiny little Paul Simon is George and big, burly Art Garfunkel is Lennie.
Mrs. Robinson is my favorite song now. I wish I knew the secret to writing songs as amazing and catchy and beautiful as that one.
Some of the most beautiful voices I have ever heard.
Love those songs, I could listen to them over and over and never get tired of them.
spectacular
where is john denver
Any version of Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel is beautiful. This live version from 1967 is particularly haunting. To remember all of this the first time. A lot of great music.
irvd2x
This Central Park version of Homeward Bound is an example of why the concert was such a disappointme n t . T h e i r 60's sound was downgraded to a lame 70s sound with Electric piano and Las Vegas style back beat.Sad.Tha n k f u l l y they rescued their legacy with the fabulous concert in Madison Square Garden with a SUPERIOR band and career best arrangements .
david.pettet 0 2
This is my favorite song, I now it by heart
This doesn't sound like it was in the 60's. Sounds like it was made in the 2000's. Ahead of its time.
irvd2x
This is my favorite version of this song.Superio r guitar arrangement and Garfunkel owns it vocally.
crbierce
THE GOOD DAYS!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
Your quite the racist b**tard enzothebaker 9 9 & you are proof positive that unfortunatel y racism is alive and well as we approach 2015. You are nothing more then a sad small minded fool. Simon & Garfunkel represent the best of their genre for that time period. You can now go piss off for now & forevermore.
Mrs. Robinson :)
That's your interpretati o n . It's a Superficial reading, that does not take into account the contextualiz a t i o n of the author, his times, and sensibilitie s . I think it's about n**gers. PS was a liberal minded racist. Like all liberals, he surrenders his whiteness so cheaply to the dark races that covet whiteness.
Enzo, the lyric which you referred to is "hello, darkness, my old friend" which had nothing to relationship s with blacks during the day but about how he mostly wrote his songs in the dark. Supposedly in his bathroom.
Hearing but not listening to anything but my own peaceful spirits and tobacco
This song brings back memories of my dad and uncles sharing stories of their times serving our country... Thank you to all the Veterans out there!
In "Sound of Silence," Simon says, "Hello, Darkness, negro friend. I have come to talk to you again."
This goes to show how progressive Paul Simon was. In a day when the races were segregated, Paul Simon sings of having a conversation with his black friend, Darkness. He begins the song, "Hello, Darkness"--- U n h e a r d of in the 1960s. It was polite society not to address or acknowledge blacks. But Paul Simon bucks that trend and unequivocall y opens up the lines of racial discourse with the simple, H
Their music, years later, is better than ever.
Very entertaining
Cecilia is my Confirmation name. She's the patron saint of music. That's kind of ironic. :)
Leaves me speechless. Nobody can do it like they can. So talented...
none have recaptured the magic !!
Love these guys☺Really miss the lyrics��
Legend.
Hit after hit !!!! 70's
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