Simon & Garfunkel
Part 1: Hey, Schoolgirl.
Simon & Garfunkel! For me, their illustrious names are synonymous with a very particular, and very special, type of music, indeed of sound. One which they truly made their own. Think of such superlative hits as ‘Homeward Bound’, ‘I Am A Rock’, ‘Mrs. Robinson’, ‘A Hazy Shade Of Winter’, ‘The Boxer’. And the one which started it all off…. the magical, unsettling, quite unforgettable, ‘The Sounds Of Silence’. (All of them ***** – absolutely!) With a track record of such delicious perfection, with such beautiful, evocative and thought-provoking songs at their disposal, who could ever omit this stupendous duo from the roll call of rock, folk and pop fame?
Simon & Garfunkel stopped making studio records together long ago, for reasons we will explore. But their mark on music history is indelible. We might say that their talent, particularly Paul Simon’s, as he wrote all their memorable songs, was so great that they could not have failed to become 1960s superstars. But there was more to their story than that.
The time of their success as a pair, before their acrimonious split, spanned only 5 years, from the end of 1965 to the end of 1970. In that brief timespan they released only four studio albums and thirteen singles. But what albums, what singles! During their career Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel sold over 100 million records. Their last and biggest LP, Bridge Over Troubled Water, sold 25 million copies itself. But in their case, statistics like that have no meaning. All that matters is that the records they made actually exist, so we can thrill endlessly to their charming beauty.
But the inescapable fact remains: if it weren’t for The Beatles, most of the records issued in the name of Simon & Garfunkel would never have been made. Any they did make would not have been listened to and appreciated. Instead of being worldwide legends, Simon & Garfunkel’s destiny would surely have been one of anonymity. What, you ask? Yes indeed! I will be exploring this surprising contention in due course. But first, let’s go back to the beginning of their fascinating story!