Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel were one of the most popular folk influenced music groups of all time. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met as childhood friends in their Forest Hills, Queens New York neighborhood. They would go from such common beginnings to becoming one of the biggest musical acts in American history, filling concert halls everywhere they went(Europe and America) and selling millions of albums. I have no idea where I first heard Simon and Garfunkel’s music. My mother, a child of the sixties, was big into them when she was a kid. We had a bunch of the records but I can’t recall my mom ever putting them on. When I reached a certain age I start digging through my mom’s record collection and that’s where I got the idea to check them out. I had always been a Paul Simon fan but I hadn’t heard his previous work with Garfunkel much up until that time. I was pleasantly surprised to say the least.A couple a suave dudes.

There really wasn’t much to their act. On many songs it was just to the two of them singing with Simon’s guitar accompanying. On the songs with more musicians the duo could do a convincing rendition with the others and usually did when playing live . What really stands out in Simon and Garfunkel’s music is their vocals. The way they could harmonize with each other is something you just don’t hear every day. It’s the kind of stuff that makes the girls swoon and the boys jealous. But as peaceful as their voices were the two were in a almost constant state of conflict. They broke up on many occasions and their commercial success had no effect. In fact it seemed the better their albums would do the more they would bicker. Many blowouts happened in the writing process but a few happened on tour as well. This took a toll on their relationship and in 1970 to little surprise to anyone familiar with them, they broke up the band, each going on to a solo career. They’ve had many reunions since, no new material to come out of any of them though. In fact I believe they are touring at the time of this writing.

Releasing their first single in 1957 in the next couple decades Simon and Garfunkel would create five highly influential folk rock masterpieces. Those albums also produced a ton of top ten singles. I attribute this to their ability to access multiple major audiences. They could appear to parents and children, the romantic high school girl and the lonely college nerd. Folk Rock was a new genre at the time and S&G set the bar high for everyone that followed. To be honest I really can’t pick a favorite albums, they are all that good. If I was forced to choose I guess I’d go with “Parsley, Sage” but only if I was forced. Their albums are very easy to get a hold of due to their lasting popularity here in the states. You can get most of their albums remixed/new for under $8 and there’s nothing wrong with that.

1) Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. [1964]
2) Sounds of Silence [1966]
3) Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme 1966]
4) Bookends [1968]
5) Bridge over Troubled Water [1970]
6) The Concert in Central Park [1981] *live performance

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