Simon & Garfunkel

  • Paul Simon was born in New Jersey in 1941. Art Garfunkel was born the same year, in Queens NYC. They met in Queens in 1953, and they discovered a mutual love of music, particularly the music of the Everly Brothers.
  • At 15 years old, under the names Tom & Jerry, their first single, Hey Schoolgirl (and B-side Dancin’ Wild) was released on an independent record label. The owner of the label bribed radio DJ Alan Freed to play it on his show, and it quickly became popular. Ultimately, it got them on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, headlining with Jerry Lee Lewis. Pretty cool for being 15 years old!
  • By 1963, they were performing together in coffee houses in Greenwich Village, under the name Kane & Garr. One of the songs they performed caught the attention of a producer at Colombia Records – The Sound of Silence. This led to their first album, released in 1964, made up largely of folk songs, now under the name Simon & Garfunkel. The version of The Sound of Silence that we know so well today actually is a remix of the original, produced with more of a folk rock sound.
  • Their follow-up work was wildly successful, making them the biggest folk-rock artists of the 60s.
  • The harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel – especially the high tenor harmony from Garfunkel – was my first exposure to the beauty and wonder of vocalization in music. Today, harmonization still is my most appreciated element of music.
  • With all their success and their wonderful sound together, they only managed to release 5 studio albums, before creative and personal differences broke them up in 1970. Despite the breakup, they managed to periodically perform together while they managed their own solo careers. Famously, they performed together at a free concert in Central Park in NYC in 1981 – over 500,000 people attended this show.
  • They have received 14 Grammy awards, including a lifetime achievement award, and they were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Their album Bridge Over Troubled Waters was ranked 51 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
  • Watch and listen to this clip from the Central Park concert – and be amazed by my favorite S&G song, The Boxer (including an extra verse not included in the single). 

3 thoughts on “Simon & Garfunkel”

  1. One of my favorite duos. Saw them in Boston a few years back with my sister Carol. We had fifth row floor seats, front & center.

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