Pioneers of folk rock Simon and Garfunkel grew up in the same neighbourhood in New York and attended the same schools. They began writing songs in 1957 and scored a minor hit as Tom (Art Garfunkel) and Jerry (Paul Simon) with ‘Hey, Schoolgirl’.
They reverted to their real names when they released the album ‘Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.’ in 1964. Originally, the album flopped and the duo disbanded for over a year. However, radio stations in Florida and Boston began receiving requests for album track ‘The Sound of Silence’. At the time, Paul Simon was living in the UK and touring England’s folk clubs while Art Garfunkel was carving out a career as an actor. Simon came back to the US the following year and the pair reunited.
The next album mostly consisted of adaptations of Simon’s solo material, some of which went on to be huge hits for the duo like ‘I Am a Rock’ and ‘Kathy’s Song’. Simon’s time in England seemed to have a big impact on his music. ‘Scarborough Fair/Canticle’ and ‘Homeward Bound’ became big hits, the latter a song about Simon being stranded overnight in Widnes train station.
Simon and Garfunkel had overwhelming success with their contribution to the soundtrack for ‘The Graduate’ in 1968. The song ‘Mrs Robinson’ became their most successful hit to date, but soon afterwards, tensions set in.
‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ was their final studio album, spawning more hits such as ‘The Boxer’, ‘Cecilia’ and, of course, the title track. Shortly after the release of the album in 1970, the pair went their separate ways.
Simon and Garfunkel have reunited for one-off performances since splitting and have collaborated on each other’s work. Although Art Garfunkel released his solo album ‘Watermarks’ in 1978 to critical acclaim, Paul Simon has enjoyed greater success with albums such as ‘Graceland’ and ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’. They toured Japan, New Zealand and Australia in June and July 2009. In October that year, they participated together in the 25th year anniversary of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts at Madison Square Garden with other artists such as Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Eric Clapton.
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