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Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are a folk singing duo. They recorded many albums together during the 1960s, and were one of the most popular acts of that decade, with many chart-topping songs. They broke up in 1970, but have reunited several times over the years since then.
Simon and Garfunkel had been close friends ever since elementary school when they began performing together. Initially, they called their band Tom and Jerry, and their first album, Hey, Schoolgirl, was released under that name in 1957. The album reached number 49 on the Billboard charts, and sold over 100,000 copies.
Other albums released under the Tom and Jerry name did not meet the same level of success, and the duo put the band on hold while they were in college. In 1964, however, they reformed under the name Simon and Garfunkel, and released their first album for Columbia Records, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM. On its release, however, the album was a flop. The duo went their separate ways, and Paul Simon moved to England to work on a solo folk career.
In the summer of 1965, one track from Simon and Garfunkel's first album, "The Sound of Silence" became an unexpected hit. When radio stations began to play the song, their producer, Tom Wilson, decided to make the track more radio-friendly by adding electric guitars, bass, and drums to the original folk song, creating a new genre: folk rock. The remixed single hit number one on the music charts on 1 January 1966.
After the success of "The Sound of Silence," Simon and Garfunkel got back together to record another album. The Sounds of Silence, which included their hit single, hit #21 on the Billboard charts, and a re-released version of their first album hit #30. Many of the songs from this album are among the best-loved in the duo's discography, including the hit single "I Am A Rock."
Simon and Garfunkel continued to release music throughout the rest of the 1960s, and topped the charts several more times. One of their more famous tracks was "Scarborough Fair," which is based on an old English song. They became most successful, however, with the release of the soundtrack to the film, The Graduate. Simon and Garfunkel contributed songs for the film, which starred Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman. The film was a hit; it helped the album rise to the top of the charts, and made "Mrs. Robinson" one of their most famous songs.
Simon and Garfunkel's last album together was 1970's best-selling Bridge Over Troubled Water, which was hugely successful, selling over 14 million copies in the United States, and garnering several Grammy awards. However, personal tensions and different interests led the duo to call it quits in 1970. Since then, Paul Simon has gone on to a very successful solo career, and the duo have performed on several reunion tours.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who are Simon and Garfunkel?
Simon and Garfunkel were an iconic American folk-rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They rose to fame in the 1960s with hits like "The Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Known for their harmonious vocals and reflective lyrics, they have left a lasting impact on music and culture. Their work has earned them multiple awards, including several Grammys, and they are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
What are some of Simon and Garfunkel's most famous songs?
Simon and Garfunkel's discography includes timeless classics that have resonated with audiences for decades. Some of their most famous songs include "The Sound of Silence," which became an anthem of the 1960s, "Mrs. Robinson," which was featured in the film "The Graduate," and the poignant "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which showcased their musical versatility and emotional depth. These songs have been widely covered and remain staples on classic radio stations.
How did Simon and Garfunkel impact the music industry?
Simon and Garfunkel's impact on the music industry is profound. They were among the pioneers of folk-rock, blending poetic lyrics with contemporary sounds. Their introspective songwriting and innovative use of studio technology influenced countless artists. According to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), their album "Bridge Over Troubled Water" was certified 8x Platinum, reflecting its massive commercial success and cultural influence.
Did Simon and Garfunkel receive any awards for their music?
Yes, Simon and Garfunkel received numerous awards throughout their career. They won 10 Grammy Awards, including the prestigious Album of the Year for "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in 1971. In 2003, they were honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, recognizing their enduring contributions to music and their status as one of the most successful musical duos in history.
What led to the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel?
Simon and Garfunkel's breakup in 1970 was attributed to a combination of factors, including personal differences, creative tensions, and the stress of their rapid success. Despite their professional split, they have reunited several times for performances and tours, including their famous 1981 concert in Central Park, which attracted over 500,000 attendees, demonstrating the enduring appeal of their partnership and music.