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An Introduction to Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel Bookends

Simon and Garfunkel were my first favourite musical group, and the first I covered on Aphoristic Album Reviews. Paul Simon wrote the songs, while Art Garfunkel provided gorgeous harmony vocals. They released five albums, before breaking up in 1970; here’s an overview of their career in five songs.

They started their career as Tom and Jerry, but their first recording as Simon and Garfunkel was 1964’s Wednesday Morning 3 A.M.. It sounds like the work of a generic sixties folk act, apart from a couple of strong Paul Simon songs, notably the original acoustic version of ‘The Sound of Silence’:

CBS producer Tom Wilson added electric overdubs to the track, creating a #1 hit, and the duo reformed and quickly produced an accompanying album. Sounds of Silence is patchy, but ‘April Come She Will’ is a pretty album track:

They had more time to work on their third album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. While it’s weighed down by some pretentious Paul Simon lyrics, the more detailed arrangements are gorgeous, especially this reworking of a traditional folk tune:

Their fourth album, Bookends, stands up as their most consistent work. ‘Punky’s Dilemma’ is a charming, low-key track:

The group’s last studio album was 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water – tensions between the duo arose as Garfunkel was filming Catch-22 in Mexico, while Simon worked on the album. The gorgeous ‘The Only Living Boy In New York’ is a thinly veiled account of Simon’s frustrations:

For a more in-depth analysis of Simon and Garfunkel, and full album reviews, please visit https://albumreviews.blog/reviews/simon-and-garfunkel/

What’s your favourite Simon and Garfunkel song?

4 thoughts on “An Introduction to Simon and Garfunkel Leave a comment

  1. It’s hard to summarize an artist’s career in five songs but you’ve done a fine job here. The fact that you could choose from at least a dozen other songs & have an equally strong primer proves the greatness of their brief discography. For me their definitive song is “The Boxer” and, although some might claim it’s overplayed, it’s hard to dispute the brilliance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” A perfect combination of songwriting & vocal performance.

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    • They’ve held up really well – although it always mystifies me why Simon and Garfunkel are universally loved while Paul Simon’s solo career tends to get a lot more backlash. Simon’s had his dull moments, but he’s had a lot of strong albums and on the balance, a very fine solo career.

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      • Although critics tend to love everything Simon releases, at least in recent years, I agree that his discography doesn’t get the same kind of universal acclaim as S&G. I wrote a 5-part series on the Paul Simon discography in 2011, shortly after starting my blog, and gained a deeper appreciation of his artistry in the process.

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  2. There Goes Rhymin’ Simon is the one that confuses me – it seems the most similar to Simon and Garfunkel, but it gets bashed as toothless soft rock a lot. It’s not like Simon and Garfunkel ever had much edge.

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