Simon & Garfunkel, made up of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, are one of the most iconic and influential duos in the history of popular music. Their music has left an indelible mark on pop culture, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of musicians. In this article, we’ll explore the lives and careers of these two legendary musicians, from their early beginnings to their rise to fame, and their lasting impact on music history.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of Simon & Garfunkel to the music industry. Their unique blend of folk and rock music, combined with their powerful lyrics and beautiful harmonies, set them apart from other artists of their time. Their music captured the spirit of a generation, and their songs remain timeless classics to this day. In the following sections, we’ll take a closer look at the lives and careers of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, and how they came together to create one of the most iconic duos in music history.
Early Life of Paul Simon
Childhood and Family Background
Paul Simon was born on October 13, 1941, in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of Hungarian-Jewish parents, Belle and Louis Simon, who were both elementary school teachers. Simon grew up in Queens, New York, with his younger brother, Eddie.
Introduction to Music and Early Influences
Simon’s love for music began at an early age. He was exposed to a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, blues, and folk music, which he heard on the radio and at family gatherings. Simon’s father was also a skilled musician, and his love for music inspired his son to pursue a career in the industry.
Early Music Career Before Meeting Art Garfunkel
Simon’s first foray into the music industry began in high school when he formed a doo-wop group called The Mystics. However, it wasn’t until he attended Queens College that he met Art Garfunkel, his future musical partner. Simon and Garfunkel began playing together in the early 1960s, performing in coffeehouses and clubs around New York City. Their early collaborations would eventually lead to the formation of one of the most iconic duos in music history.
Early Life of Art Garfunkel
Childhood and Family Background
Arthur Ira Garfunkel was born on November 5, 1941, in Queens, New York. His father, Jacob “Jack” Garfunkel, was a traveling salesman, and his mother, Rose, was a housewife. Art was the second child in a Jewish family of four children. As a child, Art was known for his exceptional singing voice, which he inherited from his father, who was also a singer.
Introduction to Music and Early Musical Influences
Art’s love of music started at an early age, and he began singing in his synagogue choir at the age of four. He was also influenced by the music of his time, including doo-wop and rock and roll. He was particularly inspired by the music of Elvis Presley, and he started to develop his own unique style of singing.
Early Music Career Before Meeting Paul Simon
Art’s first taste of success as a musician came in high school when he formed a doo-wop group called The Peptones. The group enjoyed some local success, but it wasn’t until he met Paul Simon in 1953 that his music career really took off. Art and Paul became close friends, and they started singing together as a duo. They performed at school dances and local talent shows, and they even recorded a few songs together. However, it wasn’t until a few years later that they became known as “Simon & Garfunkel” and began their legendary musical partnership.
Simon & Garfunkel’s Partnership
How They Met and Began Working Together
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel met as children in Queens, New York, and began performing together in their teenage years. They started out as a rock duo called “Tom and Jerry” before changing their name to Simon & Garfunkel in the early 1960s. Their big break came in 1964 when they released their debut album, “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” which included the hit single “The Sound of Silence.”
Overview of Their Discography and Most Popular Songs
Simon & Garfunkel’s discography spans over a decade, with their most famous songs becoming timeless classics. Their second album, “Sounds of Silence,” included hits such as “I Am a Rock” and “Homeward Bound,” while “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” featured popular tracks like “Scarborough Fair” and “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy).” “Bookends” is considered one of their best works and includes the iconic song “Mrs. Robinson.”
Impact on the Music Industry and Cultural Significance
Simon & Garfunkel’s music has had a significant impact on the music industry and popular culture. Their unique blend of folk and rock music, combined with their powerful lyrics and harmonies, set them apart from other artists of their time. Their songs captured the spirit of the 1960s and continue to resonate with audiences today. They have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and their music has been covered by countless artists over the years. Simon & Garfunkel’s partnership has left an indelible mark on music history and continues to inspire new generations of musicians.
Solo Careers and Reunions
Paul Simon’s Solo Career
After Simon & Garfunkel disbanded in 1970, Paul Simon embarked on a successful solo career. He released a series of critically acclaimed albums, including “Paul Simon” (1972), “There Goes Rhymin’ Simon” (1973), and “Still Crazy After All These Years” (1975). These albums showcased Simon’s versatility as a songwriter and his ability to blend different genres of music, from folk to rock to world music.
Simon continued to release successful albums throughout the 80s and 90s, including “Graceland” (1986) and “The Rhythm of the Saints” (1990), both of which were heavily influenced by African music. These albums were both commercial and critical successes, and cemented Simon’s status as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation.
Art Garfunkel’s Solo Career
Art Garfunkel also pursued a solo career after Simon & Garfunkel disbanded. He released a number of albums throughout the 70s and 80s, including “Angel Clare” (1973) and “Breakaway” (1975). Garfunkel’s solo work showcased his unique vocal abilities and his willingness to experiment with different genres of music.
Garfunkel also pursued an acting career in the 80s and 90s, appearing in a number of films and television shows. He continued to release music throughout the 90s and 2000s, including “Everything Waits to be Noticed” (2002) and “Some Enchanted Evening” (2007), both of which were well-received by critics and fans alike.
Reunions and Collaborations
Despite pursuing successful solo careers, Simon and Garfunkel continued to collaborate and reunite over the years. They reunited for a series of concerts in 1981 and 1990, and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
In 2003, Simon and Garfunkel embarked on a highly successful tour, which was documented in the film “Old Friends: Live On Stage”. They also released a new studio album, “Old Friends”, which included new recordings of some of their classic songs.
While Simon and Garfunkel have both continued to pursue solo projects, their collaborations and reunions remain some of the most memorable moments in music history. Their music continues to inspire new generations of musicians, and their legacy will live on for years to come.