Simon & Garfunkel

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About Simon & Garfunkel

One of pop music’s most influential duos, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel parlayed a childhood friendship growing up in Queens, NY, into a tempestuous career that sprang from the folk revival but quickly reflected rock music’s rapidly expanding landscape during the second half of the '60s. While still in high school, the duo scored a minor hit as Tom & Jerry with “Hey Schoolgirl,” a bald homage to their vocal-harmony heroes, The Everly Brothers. They re-formed under their own names in 1963, inspired by the folk explosion, and then promptly disbanded following their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. But after producer Tom Wilson added rock-band overdubs to “The Sounds of Silence”—without their knowledge—it became a massive hit and the title track to their eventual second album. The pair went on to make four studio albums between 1966 and 1970; their popularity climbed as they took control in the studio, kaleidoscopically expanding their vision with each recording. They masterfully echoed shifts in pop music, embracing the folk-rock sound of The Byrds and the baroque arrangements of The Beatles, while retaining their signature vocal harmonies, as Simon’s songs conveyed the era’s turmoil—whether personal journeys or anti-war sentiment—with literary concision. Those harmonious sounds notwithstanding, they ruptured soon after 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, one of the best-selling albums in history at the time, spurred by the empathic, gospel-tinged title track (which quickly became a standard). Simon & Garfunkel sporadically reunited for concerts over the ensuing decades, including one in Central Park in 1981 that attracted a half-million listeners. Their sonic fingerprints live on, spanning ’60s peers like Crosby, Stills & Nash and 21st-century folk-rockers such as Fleet Foxes.

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