Bridge Over Troubled Water
Bridge Over Troubled Water is a two-paced album; half is a continuation of the meticulous Simon and Garfunkel studio sound, taken to new heights of ambition and grandeur, while the other half is looser and lighter. During the recording of Bridge Over Troubled Water, Garfunkel decamped to Mexico to star in Catch-22, providing a subtext for the album’s ‘The Only Living Boy in New York’; a beautiful piece about Simon feeling abandoned by Garfunkel.
Among the other significant pieces is the folk epic ‘The Boxer’; the guitars and vocals were recorded in a Church for atmosphere, while the booms in the chorus were recorded down an elevator shaft. The title track, with Larry Knechtel’s flowing piano, is a pop standard, while the Peruvian ‘El Condor Pasa’, marking Simon’s first foray into world music, is also suitably epic. The remainder of Bridge Over Troubled Water is comparatively low key and less ambitious, although the percussive ‘Cecilia’ was a hit, and ‘Song for the Asking’ is a nice low key acoustic piece. It’s perhaps unfair to criticise Simon’s writing for loosening up after two very serious LPs, but it does make Bridge Over Troubled Water less unified than its predecessors, and the lighter songs like ‘Why Don’t You Write Me’ and the live cover of The Everly Brothers’ ‘Bye Bye Love’ detract from its gravitas.
While they’re toured and recorded one-off songs since, Bridge Over Troubled Water was Simon and Garfunkel’s final studio album, and it features some of their best loved work.