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Simon & Garfunkel
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Every ten years or so, old friends and frequent nemeses Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel agree to bury the hatchet, go on tour and remind audiences of their 60s folk-rock glory days as Simon & Garfunkel. Late 2003 found them hitting the road for the first time since 1993, with a surprise mini-set in the middle of the show by their chief influences, The Everly Brothers. S&G's hairlines may recede further and further each time they join forces, but Simon's classic songs and their legendary harmonies hold up remarkably well.

Simon and Garfunkel both grew up in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York City. After becoming friends in middle school, the two started singing doo-wop in various groups. By 1957, they were local stars, known as Tom and Jerry, and started recording demos. Their song "Hey, Schoolgirl" landed them a deal with Big Records, hit #57 on the Billboard chart and earned them an appearance on American Bandstand.  Garfunkel went on to college, so Simon honed his songwriting chops and landed a publishing deal with the famed Brill Building songwriting shop. Among his collaborators was Carole King.

Tom and Jerry, now called Simon & Garfunkel, reunited in 1964 for the album Wednesday Morning, 3AM, which included an early acoustic version of "The Sounds of Silence." The album's lack of initial success led Simon to head off to England for further opportunities, but while he was there, producer Tom Wilson created an overdub version featuring electric instruments. Within weeks, the song (retitled "The Sounds Of Silence") hit #1 in the US charts, and the boys were hastily reunited.

An album titled after their million-selling single was rush-released early in 1966, followed by the lush and poetic Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Although the duo recorded in the studio with a backing band, they still toured as a duo, singing only to the tune of Simon's acoustic guitar. In 1967, Mike Nichols asked Simon to contribute some new music for his landmark film, The Graduate. S&G  hastily recorded one new song, an early take of "Mrs. Robinson," plus a new version of "The Sound Of Silence" and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle." The film's success made them superstars.

1968's Bookends, featuring the landmark worldwide hits "America" and "Mrs. Robinson," (which was partially rewritten and completely rerecorded), joined The Graduate soundtrack in the Top Five on Billboard's album chart. In 1969, the duo released the single "The Boxer", which  reappeared on the duo's next album, the celebrated Bridge Over Troubled Water, which became one of the bestselling albums of all time (303 weeks on the UK chart).

During the time of recording this landmark project, Garfunkel went off to Mexico to star in Nichols' film Catch-22, creating friction that ultimately led to Simon & Garfunkel's breakup. The release of a Greatest Hits package in 1972 included four previously unissued live tracks and during the same year the duo performed together at a benefit concert for Senator George McGovern. A further reunion occurred on the hit single "My Little Town" in 1975.

Six years later they performed in front of half a million fans at New York's Central Park (the results were captured on The Concert In Central Park). Although another studio album was undertaken, the sessions broke down and Simon transferred the planned material to his 1983 solo Hearts And Bones. Simon later won many Grammys and nominations for solo albums like Graceland (1986), The Rhythm of the Saints (1993) and You're The One (2000), and wrote the unsuccessful Broadway musical The Capeman in 1998. In 1993, S&G reunited for their first tour in ten years, and the summer of 2003 saw them on the road once more.

© 2004