Simon & Garfunkel: The constant ups and downs of their relationship (2023)

Like Simon & Garfunkel,Paul SimonmiArte GarfunkelThey became the darlings of folk-rock, the counterculture movement of the late 1960s, selling millions of albums and playing sold-out shows around the world. Privately, their friendship was repeatedly strained to the breaking point as they attempted to carve out their own identities both within the confines of their professional association and as independent solo artists.

The first split was because Simon recorded solo songs without telling Garfunkel

The duo met in 1953 when they were music-loving 11-year-olds in elementary school in Queens, New York. They first noticed their ability to harmonize during school and choral music productions and eventually recorded their singing before attempting to write their own songs, often in the style of their singing idols such as The Everly Brothers. At 16, the duo felt encouraged enough to walk into a Manhattan studio and record the song "Hey, Schoolgirl," which caught the eye of Sid Prosen, who ran a small label called Big Records. Prosen renamed the duo Tom & Jerry and released "Hey, Schoolgirl" as a single.

an appearance inAmerican bandstandhelped promote the record, and the two teenagers were suddenly living their dream, appearing on national television on the sideJerry Lee Lewis. "It was incredible what happened to you as a teenager," Simon recalledRolling Stone. “I picked up the guitar because I wanted to be like thatElvis Presley, and suddenly there I was.”

The record peaked at number 49 on the charts and was a hit big enough that Prosen asked Simon if he had any songs for the next singles. As the act's guitarist and songwriter, Simon was happy to provide other material and even recorded some solo songs, which he did unbeknownst to his professional partner. This election would set the stage for decades of arguments between them. Shut out of the decision-making process, Garfunkel felt betrayed by his friend and not valued as much as the composer Simon.

"He recorded it without telling me," Garfunkel said.The guardon the reason for the duo's original split. "It was 1956, maybe 1957. He was my best friend and I thought friendship was about being honest and telling a friend what's going on, so the fact that he had a hidden surprise shocked me and hurt."

Simon & Garfunkel: The constant ups and downs of their relationship (1)

Art Garfunkel (L) and Paul Simon while filming a television special called "Songs of America" ​​which aired November 30, 1969.

They reconnected and released some of their most memorable songs, only to break up again.

After Tom & Jerry's follow-up singles were only moderately received, the duo parted ways and went in different directions, only fully reconciling in the early 1960s. At the time, Garfunkel was still enrolled in college, having previously studied architecture . with majors in Art History and Mathematics Education at Columbia. A graduate of Queens College, Simon works for a music publisher while writing and releasing his own music whenever possible. Reunited as friends, they explored the burgeoning folk-rock scene, soon started singing together again and through Simon's connections ended up at Columbia Records where they were signed and renamed Simon & Garfunkel.

his debut album,Wednesday morning, 3 a.m, was released in 1964 but failed to gain traction with audiences until the single "The Sound of Silence" was later dubbed to electric instruments and drums and charted in the US and UK, where it eventually became a platinum hit. Four more studio albums would follow:sounds of silence(1966),parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme(1966),bookend(1968) miBridge over turbulent waters(1970) mit Hits wie „I Am a Rock“, „The Only Living Boy in New York“, „Mrs. Robinson“, „Homeward Bound“, „Cecilia“, „America“ und der Titel „Bridge Over Troubled Water“.

Amid hit records and live performances, the rivalry also blossomed. "They were both jealous of each other's place on the team," says then-coach Mort Lewis in the bio.Paul Simon: Lifeby Robert Hillburn. "Paul often thought that the public sees Artie as the star because he was the lead singer, and some people probably thought that Artie even wrote the songs. Meanwhile, Artie knew that Paul wrote the songs and therefore controlled the duo's future. I don't think he ever got over what happened with Tom and Jerry.

Garfunkel was interested in acting and appeared in Mike Nichols' films.22 shots(1970) miCarnal knowledge(1971). The films required him to be away for months, so Simon had to write songs for the now famous duo and wait for Garfunkel to return before recording. It was a situation Simon found unfair and unbalanced as he believed Garfunkel was more interested in acting than music and it marked the beginning of the end for Simon & Garfunkel. In public, they appeared on friendly terms prior to their final performances as a committed duo, two shows at their hometown Forest Hills Stadium in 1970. After the second show, they parted ways, professionally and personally.

No breakup announcements were made at the time, and according to Simon, there was no real talk of breaking up the band between them. "With Artie, there was no need to talk about it," Simon saidto live. When he agreedCarnal knowledge, something is broken between us. There was no way he would change his mind and he certainly didn't want to argue about it. I just wanted to keep going. we were done.

READ MORE: Paul Simon: The controversial trip to South Africa that inspired Graceland

Another attempt at reconciliation was 'agonizing'

Politics, in particular, brought them back together in 1972 when they supported Democrat George McGovern's presidential candidacy. Garfunkel later described meeting as a "nonexistent, weird experience" to start acting alongside Simon again. "I thought before that it was going to be fun, sort of a new experience, but after about three bars of the first song, I had this really strong feeling, 'Well, here we are again. That's where I stopped," he said.Rolling Stone.

Their estrangement continued into the 1970s as they both explored other musical styles and interests. When Simon asked his former partner to accompany him to a free show in Central Park in 1981, tensions seemed to have eased.More than 500,000 people took partand the live recording of the event reached #6 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

Both believed that the years in between gave them enough space to grow as artists and people. "It almost took me a long time for Paul to be somewhere else," Garfunkel said.The New York Times newspaperfrom your distance. “It touched me deeply at a time when I really needed to find my own identity. The desire to work together again naturally developed. It was the absence of things that got in the way: his ego, the need for space. I guess we've grown up. Paul said, 'Let's sing' and I said, 'It's a deal.'

In the 1970s, Simon says, they not only competed with the memory of Simon & Garfunkel, but also against each other. "It was tense," he said during thetime plansInterview. “We've always been competitive and obviously have very different tastes in music. But that has faded in recent years, and I saw the Central Park show as an opportunity to be positive about each other, to be good guys and, if we were lucky, to be a popular hit.

It was a success and for a while there were plans to record a new album. But the time they spent apart proved stronger than the sparkle of reunion, and old tensions with Simon soon flared up again.describethe failed album attempt as "devious". It would be more than a decade before they reunited for a series of shows in New York in 1993, but tensions were mountingreportsof arguments and even physical shoving behind the scenes between them.

In short, Simon says they don't get along

It would be another decade before they found common ground again, this time after receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 Grammys, where they performed. The resulting "Old Friends" concert tour spanned 2003 and 2004 while criss-crossing the US and Europe, drawing hundreds of thousands of fans.

Simon & Garfunkel made occasional appearances over the coming years, but the coolness between the cast members only seemed to grow.

While promoting his 2017 memoir, Garfunkel spoke kindly of Simon,describetheir relationship as "like a marriage. You know how these things work. It waxes and wanes... and every spring is followed by summer which is followed by cooler weather," adding that he and Simon are currently going through "one of the coldest, no, coldest times of this long friendship." There's a real feeling that I may never hear from him again. And I don't know if I care.

While his legions of fans are still looking forward to another reunion, Simon dismissed such notions as he saidNPR2016 that Simon & Garfunkel already "had two big meetings and that was it. There is not much to say. You know, the music basically stopped in 1970... I mean, honestly, we didn't get along. So it's not like it's fun. If it was fun I'd say okay, sometimes we go out and sing oldies together. That's cool. But if it's not fun, you know, and you're going to be in a tense situation, well, I have a lot of areas of music that I like to play. So it will never happen again. Is this."

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