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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
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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poetry does protect your soul...!!!
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Such a calming chill song I love it
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Memories are made of this!
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They defined a part of that era,wow I was a little sprout but I still remember
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sadieelmer
;) good times
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you dint post this you will be injured ( you won't die) in two days. Now you started reading this won't stop. Post this on at least five other stations/son g s in the next 143 minutes. When you're done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen in big letters. This is so scary this actually works
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the best in my musical choices!!!
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Simon & Garfunkle
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Classic old school!!! Groovy!!!!
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Sunshine On My Shoulders always makes me think of my wonderful son, Teddy. Thanks so much, John.
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aripinkrose
I love the sound of silence
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archer.debra
NICE RELAXING MUSIC, ESPECIALLY IN THE MORNING WHEN AT WORK. :-)
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These two guys changed OUR WORLD
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kathy B.
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I love these guys
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best song ever!!!!
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Im reminded of an afternoon in my boyfriends bedroom. All innocent.
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I always think of the movie The Graduate when I hear this song.
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My girl friend had your record ..I played it..we got married. In 1969... Luv it.
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I love all their recordings!! ! !
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Sage Rosemary and Thyme =use when baking a chicken. Easy to remember due to this song.... It's all good.
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Bookends remains a brilliant conceptual album. Can you imagine us years from today, sharing a park bench quietly, how terribly strange to be 70. Mrs. Robinson, America, Hazy Shade of Winter--it still stands up well approaching its 50th birthday.
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mun3perez
have nice sounds
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ripe Mrs Robison did the deed indeed!!
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addendum> re: yes`s version of AMERICA > I KNOW U HAVE IT IN UR DISCOGRAPHY BECAUSE U PLAYED IT ONCE ! I EMPHASIZE THE WORD ONCE
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{INSERT UR OWN CUSS WORD }HOW MANY TIMES DOES A GAL HAVE TO PLEAD WITH PANDORA TO PLAY YES`S VERSION OF THIS GREAT SIMON COMPOSED SONG ?
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A good folk song should almost bring you to tears -- the Dangling Conversation from Simon & Garfunkel's Parsley Sage Rosemary and Thyme does just that. Love it.
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my alsolute favorite song, ever������
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I love the early S&G songs. "Wednesday Morning 3 am" is one of my favorite S&G albums. It has the original, all-acoustic version of "Sounds of Silence" which I prefer to the later, electrified version. Paul Simon's solo works are good but I never liked it as well as I did the S&G songs
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And Live 1969 has the additional Boxer verse -- hooray!
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The only acceptable version of Scarborough Fair/Canticl e appears on Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme and it is totally awesome.
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Kind of nerdy
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There isn't a bad version of Sounds of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel -- this one from their 1967 live album is quite poignant in its simple arrangement.
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I love The Boxer by Simon & Garfunkel Lon Bride Over Troubled Water but I like it better with the extra verse about the tears rolling by.
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How sad Beth... :(
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HELLO DARKNESS MY OLD FRIEND I FOUND IT ����
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The Boxer is my life or death. Seriously. Their voices intertwined is a too sweet music for the ear, but quite the medicine for a scathing heart.
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Never really was a fan of*S&G until just recently,,I' m 42 and just discovered how great there music really was (is)...
Slip sliding is my favorite...
Great duo,they compliment each other's dynamic beautifully. . .
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The Only Living Boy in New York: Great song.
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marymarg66
The Beatles and Simon and Garfunkel are my favorites, how can anybody not love all six of these guys?
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I love listen to them but when they broke up there was no more Simon & Garfunkel because you couldn't have one without the other
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How could anyone hate Simon and Garfunkel? I could sit and listen to them all day.
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You right, Virginia.
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Ghogdushku.. . You write pretty well for a "2" year old!!!!!
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( from a " hippie")
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Alabaster... . "We all" do not agree... You are obviously listening to the wrong station then~~~
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How about some older folk, like Peter, Paul, & Mary, Dylan
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Little too deep for me
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virginia.bor l e y
Our kids and grandkids will never experience proper music like these guys composed and sung
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My favorite song by them. I feel like it's one of the greatest songs ever, but I like the version of them both together singing it....
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