Simon and Garfunkel
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel since 1957, although a great deal of their mainstream success was garnered in the 1960s. Their first song to achieve anything close to success was the little-known “Hey Schoolgirl.” They released this song in 1957, and its sound was notably reminiscent of that of the Everly Brothers. Simon and Garfunkel broke up for a short period after this, but they regrouped in 1963 and became more popular than ever.
The 1960s success of Simon and Garfunkel can be attributed largely to their focus on folk music. In 1964, they released their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM. It included a fair amount of original material, as well as traditional songs such as “Go Tell It on the Mountain” and covers such as Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” The album also included “The Sound of Silence,” which would become one of their most popular hits when it was remixed and re-released a year later. This resulted in a re-release of the album itself, allowing the band to reach a new level of success.
Simon and Garfunkel began touring after they began to achieve more popularity, and they were permitted more creative control as they released their next couple of albums. They released songs such as “Homeward Bound,” “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” and “I Am a Rock.” In 1967, they became the lead names on the soundtrack for The Graduate, especially due to the inclusion of their song “Mrs. Robinson.” This was included on their 1968 album Bookends, which included other notable hits such as “America,” “Fakin’ It,” “At the Zoo” and “A Hazy Shade of Winter.”
They released their final and most successful album in 1970, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Over the years, they had begun to branch outside of their classic folk sound and into music inspired by jazz, gospel, rock, and rhythm and blues. These influences were especially prevalent in their final album, although their usual sound was still ever-present in every song. The most notable songs on the album included the title song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” as well as “Cecilia,” “El Condor Pasa (If I Could),” “The Boxer” and “The Only Living Boy in New York.” After the release of this album, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel decided to pursue successful solo careers.
While both Simon and Garfunkel became successful in their own right, their work as a duo was the primary factor behind their fame. They were known for their impressive harmonies, not to mention Paul Simon’s intellectually stimulating and beautiful lyricism. Songs such as “The Sound of Silence,” “The Boxer,” “The Only Living Boy in New York” and even “Mrs. Robinson” are often named as definitive songs of the generation to which Simon and Garfunkel were singing. There songs were generally brimming with sophistication and understanding of the people who comprise their audience.
Simon and Garfunkel have reunited for shows since they split in the 1970s, and their more recent shows have been just as successful. Between Paul Simon’s writing and the sheer quality of Art Garfunkel’s voice, their music continues to speak to modern generations in the same fashion that it spoke to those of the 1960s.
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