Simon & Garfunkel

Folk Rock | 2008

In the mid-1950s, two teenagers—Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel—from Forest Hills, Queens, struck up a friendship that would lead to an incredible musical journey. Known early in their careers as “Tom & Jerry,” they found fame with the regional hit “Hey Schoolgirl” in 1957. The song got them a spot on American Bandstand, but after struggling for over six years to record a successful follow-up, the two went their separate ways, with Simon honing his craft as a songwriter while working in the famed Brill Building. Simon and Garfunkel decided to try again in 1964 and released an album for Columbia Records under their given names. Feeling that the two had done all they could with the album, Simon headed off to England and Garfunkel returned to his plans to become an architect. A clever producer named Tom Wilson hired a group of studio musicians to put electric instrumental backing behind the album’s closing song “Sounds of Silence,” in an effort to cash in on the “folk-rock” sound being popularized by artists such as The Byrds and Bob Dylan. The gamble paid off. Simon was summoned back from England with the news that he had a No. 1 single. Over the next four years, Simon’s songs and transcendent two-part harmonies with Garfunkel would top the pop music charts with songs such as “The Boxer,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Homeward Bound,” and “I Am A Rock.” The duo split in 1970, but reunited on a number of occasions: for the 1975 hit “My Little Town,” for their 1981 performance in Central Park that was attended by more than 500,000 fans, and for their “Old Friends” tour in 2003.

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