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Simon & Garfunkel

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Title: Simon & Garfunkel  
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Subject: 1966 in music, Paul Simon, 1970 in music, Bookends (album), Art Garfunkel
Collection: American Folk Rock Groups, American Musical Duos, Brit Award Winners, Columbia Records Artists, Grammy Award Winners, Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Winners, Musical Groups Disestablished in 1964, Musical Groups Disestablished in 1970, Musical Groups Disestablished in 1983, Musical Groups Disestablished in 1993, Musical Groups Established in 1957, Musical Groups from Queens, New York, Musical Groups Reestablished in 1965, Musical Groups Reestablished in 1981, Musical Groups Reestablished in 1993, Musical Groups Reestablished in 2003, Paul Simon, People from Forest Hills, Queens, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees, Rock Music Duos, Simon & Garfunkel
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Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel was an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the most popular recording artists of the 1960s and became counterculture icons of the decade's social revolution, alongside artists such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1964/1965), "Mrs. Robinson" (1968), "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1969), and "The Boxer" (1969)—reached number one on singles charts worldwide. Their often rocky relationship led to artistic disagreements, which resulted in their breakup in 1970. Their final studio record, Bridge over Troubled Water, was their most successful, becoming one of the world's best-selling albums. Since their split in 1970 they have reunited several times, most famously in 1981 for the "The Concert in Central Park", which attracted more than 500,000 people, the seventh-largest concert attendance in history.[63]

The duo met as children in in 1953, where they learned to harmonize together and began writing original material. By 1957, under the name Tom & Jerry, the teenagers had their first minor success with "Hey Schoolgirl", a song imitating their idols the Everly Brothers. Afterwards, the duo went their separate ways, with Simon making unsuccessful solo records. In 1963, aware of a growing public interest in folk music, they regrouped and were signed to Columbia Records as Simon & Garfunkel. Their début, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., sold poorly, and they once again disbanded; Simon returned to a solo career, this time in England. A remix of their song "The Sound of Silence" was played widely on U.S. AM radio in 1965, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Simon & Garfunkel reunited, releasing their second studio album Sounds of Silence and touring colleges nationwide. On their third release, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), the duo assumed more creative control. Their music was featured in the 1967 film The Graduate, giving them further exposure. Bookends (1968), their next album, topped the Billboard 200 chart[64] and included the #1 single "Mrs. Robinson" from the film. After their 1970 breakup following the release of Bridge over Troubled Water, they both continued recording, Simon releasing a number of highly acclaimed albums, including 1986's Gracelandlates with no data rows]]
Simon & Garfunkel was an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the most popular recording artists of the 1960s and became counterculture icons of the decade's social revolution, alongside artists such as the Beatles and Bob Dylan. Their biggest hits—including "The Sound of Silence" (1964/1965), "Mrs. Robinson" (1968), "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1969), and "The Boxer" (1969)—reached number one on singles charts worldwide. Their often rocky relationship led to artistic disagreements, which resulted in their breakup in 1970. Their final studio record, Bridge over Troubled Water, was their most successful, becoming one of the world's best-selling albums. Since their split in 1970 they have reunited several times, most famously in 1981 for the "The Concert in Central Park", which attracted more than 500,000 people, the seventh-largest concert attendance in history.[66]

The duo met as children in Queens, New York in 1953, where they learned to harmonize together and began writing original material. By 1957, under the name Tom & Jerry, the teenagers had their first minor success with "Hey Schoolgirl", a song imitating their idols the Everly Brothers. Afterwards, the duo went their separate ways, with Simon making unsuccessful solo records. In 1963, aware of a growing public interest in folk music, they regrouped and were signed to Columbia Records as Simon & Garfunkel. Their début, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., sold poorly, and they once again disbanded; Simon returned to a solo career, this time in England. A remix of their song "The Sound of Silence" was played widely on U.S. AM radio in 1965, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. Simon & Garfunkel reunited, releasing their second studio album Sounds of Silence and touring colleges nationwide. On their third release, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), the duo assumed more creative control. Their music was featured in the 1967 film The Graduate, giving them further exposure. Bookends (1968), their next album, topped the Billboard 200 chart[67] and included the #1 single "Mrs. Robinson" from the film. After their 1970 breakup following the release of Bridge over Troubled Water, they both continued recording, Simon releasing a number of highly acclaimed albums, including 1986's Graceland.[68] Garfunkel also briefly pursued an acting career, with leading roles in two Mike Nichols films, Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge, and in Nicolas Roeg's 1980 Bad Timing.

Simon & Garfunkel were described by critic Richie Unterberger as "the most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s" and one of the most popular artists from the decade in general.[69] They won 10 Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Their Bridge over Troubled Water album was nominated at the 1977 Brit Awards for Best International Album[70] and is ranked at #51 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[71]

History

Early years (1953–1956)

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel grew up in the 1940s and 1950s in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens, New York, just three blocks away from one another, and attended the same schools, Public School 164 in Flushing, Parsons Junior High School, and Forest Hills High School.[72][74] Individually, when still young, they developed a fascination with music; both listened to the radio and were taken with rock and roll as it emerged, particularly the Everly Brothers.[75] When Simon first noticed Garfunkel, he was singing in a fourth grade talent show, and Simon thought that was a good way to attract girls; he hoped for a friendship which eventually started in 1953 when they were in the sixth grade and appeared on stage together in a school play adaptation of Alice in Wonderland.[74][76] That first stage appearance was followed by the duo forming a street-corner doo-wop group, the Peptones, with three other friends, and learning to harmonize together.[79][80] They began performing for the first time as a duo at school dances.[81]

They moved to Forest Hills High School in 1955,[82] where, in 1956, they wrote their first song, "The Girl for Me"; Simon's father sending a handwritten copy to the Library of Congress to register a copyright.[81] While trying to remember the lyrics to the Everly's song "Hey Doll Baby", they created their own song, "Hey Schoolgirl", which they recorded themselves for $25 at Sanders Recording Studio in Manhattan.[85] While recording they were overheard by a promoter, Sid Prosen, who – after speaking to their parents – signed them to his independent label Big Records.[88]

From Tom & Jerry to Simon & Garfunkel (1957–1964)

1957 publicity photo of Simon & Garfunkel as Tom & Jerry

While still aged 15, Simon & Garfunkel now had a recording contract with Sid Prosen's independent label Big Records. Using the name Tom & Jerry; Garfunkel naming himself Tom Graph, a reference to his interest in mathematics; and Simon naming himself Jerry Landis, after the surname of Sue Landis, a girl he had dated, the single "Hey Schoolgirl" was released, with the B-side "Dancin' Wild", in 1957.[76][3] Prosen, using the payola system, bribed Alan Freed $200 to get the single played on his radio show, where it became a nightly staple.[93] ul d later year they recorded a cover of Sam Cooke's "(What a) Wonderful World" along with James Taylor.[80] Old tensions finally appeared to dissipate upon Garfunkel's return to New York in 1978, when the duo began interacting more often.[94] On May 1, 1978, Simon joined Garfunkel for a concert held at Carnegie Hall to benefit the hearing disabled.[95]

The group performing in the Netherlands in 1982

By 1980, the duo's respective solo efforts were not doing well.[94] To help alleviate New York's economic decline, concert promoter Ron Delsener came up with the idea to throw a free concert in Central Park.[97] Delsener contacted Simon with the idea of a Simon & Garfunkel reunion, and once Garfunkel agreed, plans were made.[99] The Concert in Central Park, performed September 19, 1981, attracted more than 500,000 people, at that time the largest-ever concert attendance.[80] Warner Bros. Records released a live album of the show that went double platinum in the US.[80] ding of the concert was sold to Home Box Office (HBO) for over $1 million.[101] The concert created a renewed interest in the duo's work.[102] They had several "heart-to-heart talks," attempting to put past issues behind them.[94] The duo planned a world tour, kicking off in May 1982, but their relationship grew contentious: for the majority of the tour, they did not speak to one another.[103] Warner Bros. pushed for them to extend the tour and release an all-new Simon & Garfunkel studio album.[103]

After recording several vocal tracks for a possible new Simon & Garfunkel album, Simon decided to adopt it as his own solo album. Garfunkel had refused to learn the songs in the studio, and would not give up cannabis and cigarettes, despite Simon's requests.[104] An official spokesperson remarked, "Paul simply felt the material he wrote is so close to his own life that it had to be his own record. Art was hoping to be on the album, but I'm sure there will be other projects that they will work on together. They are still friends."[104] The material was later released on Simon's 1983 effort Hearts and Bones.[80] Another rift opened between the duo when the lengthy recording of Simon's 1986 album Graceland prevented Garfunkel from working with Roy Halee on a Christmas album.[105] In 1990, the duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Garfunkel thanked his partner, calling him "the person who most enriched my life by putting those songs through me," to which Simon responded, "Arthur and I agree about almost nothing. But it's true, I have enriched his life quite a bit." After three songs, the duo left without speaking.[106]

We are indescribable. You'll never capture it. It's an ingrown, deep friendship. Yes, there is deep love in there. But there's also shit.

Garfunkel describing his six-decade-long friendship with Simon[107]

By 1993, their relationship had thawed again, and Simon invited Garfunkel on an international tour with him.[108] Following a 21-date, sold-out run at the Paramount Theater in New York and an appearance at that year's Bridge School Benefit in California, the duo toured the Far East.[80] The duo had a falling out over the course of the rest of the decade, the details of which have never been disclosed.[80] Simon thanked Garfunkel at his 2001 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist: "I regret the ending of our friendship. I hope that some day before we die we will make peace with each other," resuming after a pause, "No rush."[80] They were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards in 2003, for which the promoters convinced them to reconcile and open the show with a performance of "The Sound of Silence." The performance was satisfying for both musicians, and they planned out a full-scale reunion tour over the summer. The Old Friends tour began in October 2003 and played to sold-out audiences across the United States for 30 dates until mid-December.[98] The tour earned an estimated $123 million.[109] Following a twelve-city run in Europe in 2004, they ended their nine-month tour with a free concert at the Colosseum in Rome. It attracted 600,000 fans, more than their The Concert in Central Park.[110]

Recent years (2009–present)

The duo at their final performance – the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival[107]

In 2009, the duo reunited again for three songs during Simon's two-night arrangement at New York's Beacon Theatre. This led to a reunion tour of Asia and Australia in June 2009.[109] Their headlining set at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was very difficult for Garfunkel, who was experiencing serious vocal problems. "I was terrible, and crazy nervous. I leaned on Paul Simon and the affection of the crowd," he told Rolling Stone several years later.[107] Garfunkel was diagnosed with vocal cord paresis, and the remaining tour dates were postponed indefinitely. His manager, John Scher, informed Simon's camp that Garfunkel would be ready within a year, which did not happen, leading to poor relations between the two. He regained his vocal strength over the course of the next four years, performing shows in a Harlem theater and to underground audiences.[107]

Despite this, the duo have not staged a full-scale tour or performed shows since 2010. Garfunkel confirmed to Rolling Stone in 2014 that he believes they will tour in the future, although Simon had been too "busy" in recent years. "I know that audiences all over the world like Simon and Garfunkel. I'm with them. But I don't think Paul Simon's with them," he remarked.[107]

Musical style and legacy

Over the course of their career, Simon & Garfunkel's music gradually moved from a very basic, folk rock sound to incorporate more experimental elements for the time, including Latin and gospel music.[69] Many adolescents of the 1960s found their music relevant, while adults regarded them as intelligent.[80] Their music, according to Rolling Stone, struck a chord among lonely, alienated young adults near the end of the decade.[111]

Despite its popularity, the group was also criticized sharply, especially in its heyday. Rolling Stone critic Arthur Schmidt, for example, described the duo's music as "questionable...it exudes a sense of process, and it is slick, and nothing too much happens."[112] New York Times critic Robert Shelton said that the group had "a kind of Mickey Mouse, timid, contrived" approach to music.[113]

Their clean sound and muted lyricism "cost them some hipness points during the psychedelic era" according to Richie Unterberger of AllMusic, who also notes that the duo "inhabited the more polished end of the folk-rock spectrum and was sometimes criticized for a certain collegiate sterility."[69] Unterberger further observes that some critics would later regard Simon's lyricism in his work with Simon & Garfunkel to pale in comparison to his later solo material.[69] Their rocky personal relationship led to their "breaking up and making up about every dozen years."[109]

Discography

Awards

Grammy Awards
The Grammy Awards are held annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Simon & Garfunkel have won 10 total awards.[114]
Year Recipient/Nominated work Award Result
1969 "Mrs. Robinson" Record of the Year Won
Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Vocal Duo or Group Won
The Graduate Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special Won
1971 Bridge over Troubled Water Album of the Year Won
"Bridge over Troubled Water" Record of the Year Won
Song of the Year Won
Best Contemporary Song Won
Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) Won
Best Engineered Recording Won
2003 Simon & Garfunkel Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award Won
Other recognition

References

  1. ^
Sources

External links

  • Official site
  • Simon & Garfunkel interviewed on the Pop Chronicles (1969)
  • Interview (2004) of both Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon


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