|Simon and Garfunkel|
Art Garfunkel (L) and Paul Simon (R)
performing in Dublin, 1982
|Origin||Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, U.S.|
1972, 1975-1977, 1981-1984, 1990, 1993, 2003-2005, 2007-2010
Simon & Garfunkel was an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s and became counterculture icons of the decade's social revolution, alongside artists such as the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and Bob Dylan. Their biggest hits--including "The Sound of Silence" (1964), "Mrs. Robinson" (1968), "The Boxer" (1969), and "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1970)--reached number one on singles charts worldwide.
Their often rocky relationship led to artistic disagreements, which resulted in their breakup in 1970. Their final studio record, Bridge over Troubled Water (released in January of that year), was their most successful, becoming one of the world's best-selling albums. Since their split in 1970 they have reunited several times, most famously in 1981 for, "The Concert in Central Park", which attracted more than 500,000 people, the seventh-largest concert attendance in history.
The duo met in elementary school in Queens, New York, in 1953, where they learned to harmonize together and began writing original material. By 1957, under the name Tom & Jerry, the teenagers had their first minor success with "Hey Schoolgirl", a song imitating their idols The Everly Brothers. Afterwards, the duo went their separate ways, with Simon making unsuccessful solo records. In 1963, aware of a growing public interest in folk music, they regrouped and were signed to Columbia Records as Simon & Garfunkel. Their début, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., sold poorly, and they once again disbanded; Simon returned to a solo career, this time in England. In June 1965, their song "The Sound of Silence" was overdubbed, adding electric guitar and a drumkit to the original 1964 recording. This later version became a major U.S. AM radio hit in 1965, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
They reunited, releasing their second studio album Sounds of Silence and touring colleges nationwide. On their third release, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), the duo assumed more creative control. Their music was featured in the 1967 film The Graduate, giving them further exposure. Bookends (1968), their next album, topped the Billboard 200 chart and included the number-one single "Mrs. Robinson" from the film.
After their 1970 breakup following the release of Bridge over Troubled Water, they both continued recording, Simon releasing a number of highly acclaimed albums, including 1986's Graceland. Garfunkel also briefly pursued an acting career, with leading roles in two Mike Nichols films, Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge, and in Nicolas Roeg's 1980 Bad Timing, as well as releasing some solo hits such as "All I Know".
Simon & Garfunkel won 10 Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990, and their Bridge over Troubled Water album was nominated at the 1977 Brit Awards for Best International Album. It is ranked at number 51 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Richie Unterberger described them as "the most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s" and one of the most popular artists from the decade in general.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel grew up in the 1940s and 1950s in the predominantly Jewish neighborhood of Forest Hills in Queens, New York, just three blocks away from one another, and attended the same schools: Public School 164 in Flushing, Parsons Junior High School, and Forest Hills High School. Individually, when still young, they developed a fascination with music; both listened to the radio and were taken with rock and roll as it emerged, particularly the Everly Brothers. When Simon first noticed Garfunkel, he was singing in a fourth grade talent show, and Simon thought that was a good way to attract girls; he hoped for a friendship which eventually started in 1953 when they were in the sixth grade and appeared on stage together in a school play adaptation of Alice in Wonderland. That first stage appearance was followed by the duo forming a street-corner doo-wop group, the Peptones, with three other friends, and learning to harmonize together. They began performing for the first time as a duo at school dances.
They moved to Forest Hills High School in 1955, where, in 1956, they wrote their first song, "The Girl for Me"; Simon's father sent a handwritten copy to the Library of Congress to register a copyright. While trying to remember the lyrics to the Everly's song "Hey Doll Baby", they created their own song, "Hey Schoolgirl", which they recorded themselves for $25 at Sanders Recording Studio in Manhattan. While recording they were overheard by a promoter, Sid Prosen, who - after speaking to their parents - signed them to his independent label Big Records.
While still aged 15, Simon & Garfunkel now had a recording contract with Sid Prosen's independent label Big Records. Using the name Tom & Jerry (Garfunkel naming himself Tom Graph, a reference to his interest in mathematics, and Simon naming himself Jerry Landis after the surname of Sue Landis, a girl he had dated), the single "Hey Schoolgirl" was released, with the B-side "Dancin' Wild", in 1957. Prosen, using the payola system, bribed Alan Freed $200 to get the single played on his radio show, where it became a nightly staple. "Hey Schoolgirl" attracted regular rotation on nationwide AM pop stations, leading it to sell over 100,000 copies and to land on Billboard charts at number 49. Prosen promoted the group heavily, getting them a spot on Dick Clark's American Bandstand (headlining alongside Jerry Lee Lewis). The duo shared approximately $4,000 from the song - earning two percent each from royalties, the rest staying with Prosen. They released three more singles on Big Records: "Our Song", "That's My Story", and "Don't Say Goodbye", none of them successful.
After graduating from Forest Hills High School in 1958, they were still exploring the possibilities of a music career, though continued their education as a back up; Simon studying English at Queens College, City University of New York, Garfunkel studying first architecture, then switching to art history at Columbia College, Columbia University. While still with Big Records as a duo, Simon released a solo single, "True or False", under the name "True Taylor". This recording upset Garfunkel, who regarded it as a betrayal; the emotional tension from that incident occasionally surfaced throughout their relationship. Their last recording with Big Records was a cover of a Jan and Dean single, "Baby Talk", but the company became bankrupt soon after release; the track was reissued on Bell Records, but failed to sell, so Tom & Jerry was dissolved. Both, however, continued recording, albeit as solo artists: Garfunkel composing and recording "Private World" for Octavia Records, and--under the name Artie Garr--"Beat Love" for Warwick; Simon recorded with The Mystics, and Tico & The Triumphs, and wrote and recorded under the names Jerry Landis and Paul Kane. Simon also wrote and performed demos for other artists, working for a while with Carole King and Gerry Goffin.
After graduating in 1963, Simon joined Garfunkel, who was still at Columbia, to perform together again as a duo, this time with a shared interest in folk music. Simon enrolled part-time in Brooklyn Law School, By late 1963, billing themselves as "Kane & Garr", they performed at Gerde's Folk City, a Greenwich club that hosted Monday night open mic performances. The duo performed three new songs -- "Sparrow", "He Was My Brother", and "The Sound of Silence" -- and got the attention of Columbia producer Tom Wilson, who worked with Bob Dylan. As a "star producer" for the label, he wanted to record "He Was My Brother" with a new British act named the Pilgrims. Simon convinced Wilson to let him and his partner have a studio audition, and they performed "The Sound of Silence". House engineer Roy Halee recorded the audition, and at Wilson's urging, Columbia signed the duo.
Their debut studio album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., was recorded over three daytime sessions in March 1964 and released in October. The album contains four original Simon compositions, with the remainder consisting of three traditional folk songs and five folk-influenced singer-songwriter numbers. Simon was adamant that they would no longer use stage names, and they adopted the name Simon & Garfunkel. Columbia set up a promotional showcase at Folk City on March 31, 1964, the duo's first public concert as Simon & Garfunkel. The showcase, as well as other scheduled performances, did not go well.
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. sold only 3,000 copies upon its October release, and its poor sales led Simon to move to England where he had previously visited and played some gigs. He toured the small folk clubs, appearing on the same bill and befriending British folk artists such as Bert Jansch, Martin Carthy, Al Stewart, and Sandy Denny. He met Kathy Chitty, who became the object of his affection and is the Kathy in "Kathy's Song" and "America".
A small music publishing company, Lorna Music, licensed "Carlos Dominguez", a single Simon had cut two years prior as "Paul Kane", for a cover by Val Doonican that sold very well. Simon visited Lorna to thank them, and the meeting resulted in a publishing and recording contract. He signed to the Oriole label and released "He Was My Brother" as a single. Simon invited Garfunkel to stay for the summer of 1964. Near the end of the season, Garfunkel returned to Columbia for class, and Simon surprised his friends by saying that he would be returning to the States as well. He would resume his studies at Brooklyn Law School for one semester, partially at his parents' insistence. He returned to England in January 1965, now certain that music was his calling. In the meantime, his landlord, Judith Piepe, had compiled a tape from his work at Lorna and sent it to the BBC in hopes they would play it. The demos aired on the Five to Ten morning show, and were instantly successful. Oriole had folded into CBS by that point, and hoped to record a new Paul Simon album.The Paul Simon Songbook was recorded in June 1965 and featured multiple future Simon & Garfunkel staples, among them "I Am a Rock" and "April Come She Will". CBS flew Wilson over to produce the record, and he stayed at Simon's flat. The album saw release in August, and although sales were poor, Simon felt content with his future in England.
Meanwhile, in the United States, a late-night disc jockey at WBZ-FM in Boston played "The Sound of Silence", where it was popular with a college audience. It was picked up the next day along the East Coast of the United States, down to Cocoa Beach, Florida. Wilson, inspired by the folk rock sound of the Byrds' cover of "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", created a rock remix of the song using studio musicians. The remix of "The Sound of Silence" was issued in September 1965, where it reached the Billboard Hot 100. Wilson had not informed the duo of his intention to remix the track; as such, Simon was "horrified" when he first heard it. Garfunkel graduated in 1965, returning to Columbia University to do a master's degree in mathematics.
By January 1966, "The Sound of Silence" topped the Hot 100, selling over one million copies. Simon reunited with Garfunkel that winter in New York, leaving Chitty and his friends in England behind. CBS demanded a new album from the duo, to be called Sounds of Silence to ride the wave of the hit. Recorded in three weeks, and mainly consisting of re-recorded songs from The Paul Simon Songbook, plus four new tracks, Sounds of Silence was rush-released onto the market in mid-January 1966, peaking at number 21 Billboard Top LPs chart. A week later, "Homeward Bound" was released as a single, entering the USA top ten, followed by "I Am a Rock" peaking at number three. The duo supported the recordings with a nationwide tour of America, while CBS continued their promotion by re-releasing Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which promptly charted at number 30. Despite the commercial and popular success, the duo received critical derision, as many considered them a manufactured imitation of folk.
As they considered their previous effort a "rush job" to capitalize on their sudden success, the duo spent more time crafting the follow-up. It was the first time Simon insisted on total control in aspects of recording. Work began in 1966 and took nine months. Garfunkel considered the recording of "Scarborough Fair" to be the point at which they stepped into the role of producer, as they were constantly beside engineer Roy Halee mixing the track.Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme was issued in October 1966, following the release of several singles and receiving sold-out college campus shows. The duo resumed their trek on the college circuit eleven days following the release, crafting an image that was described as "alienated", "weird", and "poetic". Manager Mort Lewis also was responsible for this public perception, as he withheld them from television appearances (unless they were allowed to play an uninterrupted set or choose the setlist). Simon, then 26, felt he had finally "made it" into an upper echelon of rock and roll, while most importantly retaining artistic integrity ("making him spiritually closer to Bob Dylan than to, say, Bobby Darin", wrote biographer Marc Eliot). The duo chose William Morris as their booking agency after a recommendation from Wally Amos, a mutual friend through their producer Tom Wilson.
During the sessions for Parsley, the duo cut "A Hazy Shade of Winter"; it was released as a single, peaking at number 13 on the national charts. Similarly, they recorded "At the Zoo" for single release in early 1967 (it charted lower, at number 16). Simon began work for their next album around this time, noting to a writer at High Fidelity that "I'm not interested in singles anymore". He had hit a dry spell in his writing, which led to no Simon & Garfunkel album on the horizon for 1967. Artists at the time were expected to release two, perhaps three albums each year and the lack of productivity from the duo worried executives at Columbia Records. Amid concerns for Simon's idleness, Columbia Records chairman Clive Davis arranged for up-and-coming record producer John Simon to kick-start the recording. Simon was distrustful of "suits" at the label; on one occasion, he and Garfunkel brought a tape recorder into a meeting with Davis, who was giving a "fatherly talk" on speeding up production, in order to laugh at it later. The rare television appearances at this time saw the duo performing on such diverse network broadcasts as the Ed Sullivan, Mike Douglas and Andy Williams shows in 1966 and twice on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in 1967.
Meanwhile, director Mike Nichols, then filming The Graduate, had become fascinated with the duo's past two efforts, listening to them nonstop before and after filming. After two weeks of this obsession, he met with Clive Davis to ask for permission to license Simon & Garfunkel music for his film. Davis viewed it as a perfect fit and envisioned a best-selling soundtrack album. Simon was not as immediately receptive, viewing movies akin to "selling out", creating a damper on his artistic integrity. However, after meeting Nichols and becoming impressed by his wit and the script, he agreed to write at least one or two new songs for the film.Leonard Hirshan, a powerful agent at William Morris, negotiated a deal that paid Simon $25,000 to submit three songs to Nichols and producer Lawrence Turman. Several weeks later, Simon re-emerged with two new tracks, "Punky's Dilemma" and "Overs", neither of which Nichols was particularly taken with. The duo offered another new song, which later became "Mrs. Robinson", that was not as developed. Nichols loved it.
The duo's fourth studio album, Bookends, was recorded in fits and starts over various periods from late 1966 to early 1968. The duo were signed under an older contract that specified the label pay for sessions, and Simon & Garfunkel took advantage of this indulgence, hiring viola and brass players, as well as percussionists. The record's brevity reflects its concise and perfectionist production. The team spent over 50 studio hours recording "Punky's Dilemma", for example, and re-recorded vocal parts, sometimes note by note, until they were satisfied. Garfunkel's songs and voice took a lead role on some of the songs, and the harmonies for which the duo was known gradually disappeared. For Simon, Bookends represented the end of the collaboration and became an early indicator of his intentions to go solo. Although the album had been planned long in advance, work did not begin in earnest until the late months of 1967.
Prior to release, the band helped put together and performed at the Monterey Pop Festival, which signaled the beginning of the Summer of Love on the West Coast. "Fakin' It" was issued as a single that summer and found only modest success on AM radio; the duo were much more focused on the rising FM format, which played album cuts and treated their music with respect. In January 1968, the duo appeared on a Kraft Music Hall special, Three for Tonight, performing ten songs largely culled from their third album.Bookends was released by Columbia Records in April 1968. In an historical context, this was just 24 hours before the assassination of Civil Rights Movement activist Martin Luther King, Jr., which spurred nationwide outrage and riots. The album debuted on the Billboard Top LPs in the issue dated April 27, 1968, climbing to number one and staying at that position for seven non-consecutive weeks; it remained on the chart as a whole for 66 weeks.Bookends received such heavy orders weeks in advance of its release that Columbia was able to apply for award certification before copies left the warehouse, a fact it touted in magazine ads. The record became the duo's best-selling album to date: it fed off the buzz created by the release of The Graduate soundtrack album ten weeks earlier, creating an initial combined sales figure of over five million units.
Davis had predicted this fact, and suggested raising the list price of Bookends by one dollar to $5.79, above the then standard retail price, to compensate for including a large poster included in vinyl copies. Simon instead scoffed and viewed it as charging a premium on "what was sure to be that year's best-selling Columbia album". According to biographer Marc Eliot, Davis was "offended by what he perceived as their lack of gratitude for what he believed was his role in turning them into superstars". Rather than implement Davis' price increase plan, Simon & Garfunkel signed a contract extension with Columbia that guaranteed them a higher royalty rate. The lead single "Mrs. Robinson" became, at the 1969 Grammy Awards the first rock and roll song to receive Record of the Year; it was also awarded Best Contemporary Pop Performance by a Duo or Group.
Bookends, alongside The Graduate soundtrack, propelled Simon & Garfunkel to become the biggest rock duo in the world. Simon was approached by producers to write music for films or license songs; he turned down Franco Zeffirelli, who was preparing to film Brother Sun, Sister Moon, and John Schlesinger, who likewise was readying to shoot Midnight Cowboy. In addition to Hollywood proposals, producers from the Broadway show Jimmy Shine (starring Simon's friend Dustin Hoffman, also the lead in Midnight Cowboy) asked for two original songs and Simon declined. He collaborated briefly with Leonard Bernstein on a sacred mass before withdrawing from the project due to "finding it perhaps too far afield from his comfort zone". Garfunkel took the role of Captain Nately in the Nichols film Catch-22 based on the novel of the same name. Initially Simon was to play the character of Dunbar, but screenwriter Buck Henry felt the film was already crowded with characters and subsequently wrote Simon's part out.
The filming of Catch-22 began in January 1969 and lasted about eight months. The unexpectedly long film production endangered the relationship between the duo; Simon had not completed any new songs at this point, and the duo planned to collaborate when the filming would be finished. Following the end of filming of Catch-22 in October, the first performance of what was, for a time, their last tour, took place in Ames, Iowa. The US leg of the tour ended in the sold-out Carnegie Hall on November 27. Meanwhile, the duo, working with director Charles Grodin, produced an hourlong CBS special, Songs of America, which is a mixture of scenes featuring notable political events and leaders concerning the USA, such as the Vietnam War, Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy's funeral procession, Cesar Chavez and the Poor People's March. It was broadcast only once, due to internal tension at the network regarding its content.
Bridge over Troubled Water, their final studio album, was released in January 1970 and charted in over 11 countries, topping the charts in 10, including the Billboard Top LP's chart in the US and the UK Albums Chart. It was the best-selling album in 1970, 1971 and 1972 and was at that time the best-selling album of all time. It was also CBS Records' best-selling album before the release of Michael Jackson's Thriller in 1982. The album topped the Billboard charts for 10 weeks and stayed in the charts for 85 weeks. In the United Kingdom, the album topped the charts for 35 weeks, and spent 285 weeks in the top 100, from 1970 to 1975. It has since sold over 25 million copies worldwide. "Bridge over Troubled Water", the album's lead single, hit number one in five countries and became their biggest seller. The song has been covered by over 50 artists since then, including Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Roy Orbison, and Josh Groban. "Cecilia", the follow-up, hit number four in the US, and "El Condor Pasa" hit number 18.
The recording process was tough for both musicians, and their breakup was almost certain considering the deterioration of their relationship. "At that point, I just wanted out," Simon later said. Their breakup was not intended to be semi-permanent: Garfunkel hoped for a two-year break from Simon & Garfunkel and did not intend to pursue a film career. Likewise, Simon did not intend to begin a solo career. A brief British tour followed the album release, and the duo's last concert as Simon & Garfunkel occurred at Forest Hills Stadium. In 1971, the album took home six awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. Simon's wife, Peggy Harper, pushed for him to make the split official, and he placed a call to Davis to confirm the duo's breakup: "I want you to know I've decided to split with Artie. I don't think we'll be recording together again." For the next several years, the duo would only speak "two or three" times a year.
In the 1970s, the duo reunited several times. Their first reunion was a benefit concert for presidential candidate George McGovern at New York's Madison Square Garden in June 1972. In 1975, they reconciled once more when they visited a recording session with John Lennon and Harry Nilsson. For the rest of the year, they attempted to make the reunion work, but their collaboration only yielded one song, "My Little Town", that was featured on Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years and Garfunkel's Breakaway. It peaked at number nine on the Hot 100. In 1975, Garfunkel joined Simon for a medley of three songs on the television series Saturday Night Live which Simon was guest hosting. In 1977, Garfunkel joined Simon for a brief performance of their old songs on Simon's television special The Paul Simon Special, and later that year they recorded a cover of Sam Cooke's "(What a) Wonderful World" along with James Taylor. Old tensions finally appeared to dissipate upon Garfunkel's return to New York in 1978, when the duo began interacting more often. On May 1, 1978, Simon joined Garfunkel for a concert held at Carnegie Hall to benefit the hearing disabled.
By 1980, the duo's respective solo efforts were not doing well. To help alleviate New York's economic decline, concert promoter Ron Delsener came up with the idea to throw a free concert in Central Park. Delsener contacted Simon with the idea of a Simon & Garfunkel reunion, and once Garfunkel agreed, plans were made.The Concert in Central Park, performed September 19, 1981, attracted more than 500,000 people, at that time the largest-ever concert attendance.Warner Bros. Records released a live album of the show that went double platinum in the US. A 90-minute recording of the concert was sold to Home Box Office (HBO) for over $1 million. The concert created a renewed interest in the duo's work. They had several "heart-to-heart talks," attempting to put past issues behind them. The duo planned a world tour, kicking off in May 1982, but their relationship grew contentious: for the majority of the tour, they did not speak to one another. Warner Bros. pushed for them to extend the tour and release an all-new Simon & Garfunkel studio album.
After recording several vocal tracks for a possible new Simon & Garfunkel album, Simon decided to adopt it as his own solo album. Garfunkel refused to learn the songs in the studio and would not give up his longstanding cannabis and cigarette habits despite Simon's requests. An official spokesperson remarked, "Paul simply felt the material he wrote is so close to his own life that it had to be his own record. Art was hoping to be on the album, but I'm sure there will be other projects that they will work on together. They are still friends." The material was later released on Simon's 1983 effort Hearts and Bones. Another rift opened between the duo when the lengthy recording of Simon's 1986 album Graceland prevented Garfunkel from working with Roy Halee on a Christmas album. In 1990, the duo was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Garfunkel thanked his partner, calling him "the person who most enriched my life by putting those songs through me," to which Simon responded, "Arthur and I agree about almost nothing. But it's true, I have enriched his life quite a bit." After three songs, the duo left without speaking. In August 1991 Simon staged his own concert in Central Park, which was released a few months later. Art Garfunkel had offered to lend his friend a hand in creating another park reunion in which Simon declined, leading the concert as a solo act.
By 1993, their relationship had thawed again, and Simon invited Garfunkel on an international tour with him. Following a 21-date, sold-out run at the Paramount Theater in New York and an appearance at that year's Bridge School Benefit in California, the duo toured the Far East. The duo had a falling out over the course of the rest of the decade, the details of which have never been disclosed. Simon thanked Garfunkel at his 2001 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist: "I regret the ending of our friendship. I hope that some day before we die we will make peace with each other," resuming after a pause, "No rush." They were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards in 2003, for which the promoters convinced them to reconcile and open the show with a performance of "The Sound of Silence." The performance was satisfying for both musicians, and they planned out a full-scale reunion tour over the summer. The Old Friends tour began in October 2003 and played to sold-out audiences across the United States for 30 dates until mid-December. The tour earned an estimated $123 million. Following a twelve-city run in Europe in 2004, they ended their nine-month tour with a free concert along Via dei Fori Imperiali, in front of the Colosseum in Rome. It attracted 600,000 fans, even more than their The Concert in Central Park. In 2005, Simon and Garfunkel performed three songs for a Hurricane Katrina benefit concert in Madison Square Garden. The duo performed Mrs. Robinson, and Homeward Bound. Bridge Over Troubled Water was then performed by the duo with singer Aaron Neville.
In 2007, the duo reunited again for three songs during Simon's two-night engagement at New York's Beacon Theatre. This led to meetings in 2008 and a reunion tour of Asia and Australia in June 2009. On October 29, 2009, they performed five songs -- Sound of Silence, Mrs. Robinson/Not Fade Away (medley), The Boxer, Bridge Over Troubled Water, and Cecilia -- at the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Concert at Madison Square Garden. Their headlining set at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival was very difficult for Garfunkel, who was experiencing serious vocal problems. "I was terrible, and crazy nervous. I leaned on Paul Simon and the affection of the crowd," he told Rolling Stone several years later. Garfunkel was diagnosed with vocal cord paresis, and the remaining tour dates were postponed indefinitely. His manager, John Scher, informed Simon's camp that Garfunkel would be ready within a year, which did not happen, leading to poor relations between the two. Despite tensions, Simon continued to publicly wish his old friend Artie better health and gave him praises for his then angelic voice. Garfunkel regained his vocal strength over the course of the next four years, performing shows in a Harlem theater and to underground audiences.
Despite this, the duo have not staged a full-scale tour or performed shows since 2010. Garfunkel confirmed to Rolling Stone in 2014 that he believes they will tour in the future, although Simon had been too "busy" in recent years. "I know that audiences all over the world like Simon and Garfunkel. I'm with them. But I don't think Paul Simon's with them," he remarked. In a 2016 interview with NPR's David Greene, when asked about the possibility of reuniting, Simon stated; "Well, I don't think most people do [constantly want Simon to relive the olden days]. The fact is, is, like, we did do two big reunions, and we're done. There's nothing really much to say. You know, the music essentially stopped in 1970. And, you know, I mean, quite honestly, we don't get along. So it's not like it's fun. If it was fun, I'd say, OK, sometimes we'll go out and sing old songs in harmony. That's cool. But when it's not fun, you know, and you're going to be in a tense situation, well, then I have a lot of musical areas that I like to play in. So that'll never happen again. That's that."
Over the course of their career, Simon & Garfunkel's music gradually moved from a very basic folk rock sound to incorporate more experimental elements for the time, including Latin and gospel music. Many adolescents of the 1960s found their music relevant, while adults regarded them as intelligent. Their music, according to Rolling Stone, struck a chord among lonely, alienated young adults near the end of the decade.
Despite its popularity, the group was also criticized sharply, especially in its heyday. Rolling Stone critic Arthur Schmidt, for example, described the duo's music as "questionable ... it exudes a sense of process, and it is slick, and nothing too much happens."New York Times critic Robert Shelton said that the group had "a kind of Mickey Mouse, timid, contrived" approach to music.
Their clean sound and muted lyricism "cost them some hipness points during the psychedelic era" according to Richie Unterberger of AllMusic, who also notes that the duo "inhabited the more polished end of the folk-rock spectrum and was sometimes criticized for a certain collegiate sterility." Unterberger further observes that some critics would later regard Simon's lyricism in his work with Simon & Garfunkel to pale in comparison to his later solo material. But Unterberger himself believed that "the best of S&G's work could stand among Simon's best material, and the duo did progress musically over the course of their five albums, moving from basic folk-rock productions into Latin rhythms and gospel-influenced arrangements that foreshadowed Simon's eclecticism on his solo albums." Their rocky personal relationship led to their "breaking up and making up about every dozen years."
The Grammy Awards are held annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Simon & Garfunkel have won 9 total competitive awards, 4 Hall of Fame awards, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
|1969||Bookends||Album of the Year||Nominated|
|"Mrs. Robinson"||Record of the Year||Won|
|Best Contemporary Pop Performance - Vocal Duo or Group||Won|
|The Graduate||Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special||Won|
|1971||Bridge over Troubled Water||Album of the Year||Won|
|"Bridge over Troubled Water"||Record of the Year||Won|
|Song of the Year||Won|
|Best Contemporary Song||Won|
|Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s)||Won|
|Best Engineered Recording||Won|
|Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|1976||"My Little Town"||Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals||Nominated|
|1998||"Bridge Over Troubled Water"||Grammy Hall of Fame Award||Won|
|1999||"Mrs. Robinson"||Grammy Hall of Fame Award||Won|
|Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme||Grammy Hall of Fame Award||Won|
|2003||Simon & Garfunkel||Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award||Won|
|2004||"The Sound of Silence"||Grammy Hall of Fame Award||Won|