Simon and Garfunkel; Poetry to the People
“Fools”, said I, “you do not know”
Silence like a cancer grows – “The Sound of Silence”, Sounds of Silence (1966)
Simon & Garfunkel were an American music duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They formed the group Tom & Jerry in 1957 and had their first success with the minor hit “Hey, Schoolgirl“.
As the duo rose to fame in 1965, largely on the strength of the hit single “The Sound of Silence”. Their music was featured in the landmark film The Graduate (1967), propelling them further into the public consciousness.
“I write from instinct, from inexplicable sparkle. … I wait till I come across a pleasing accident. Then I start to develop it.” Paul Simon
“Poetry to the People”
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon God they made.
And the sign flashed out its warning,
In the words that it was forming.
And the signs said, the words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls.
And whisperd in the sounds of silence. – “The Sound of Silence”, Sounds of Silence (1966)
“Paul is a very creative artist but I’m more that thorough, meticulous, disciplined nut”.Art Garfunkel
They are well known for their vocal harmonies and were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s. Their biggest hits – including “The Sound of Silence” (1964), “I Am a Rock” (1965), “Homeward Bound” (1965), “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” (1966), “A Hazy Shade of Winter” (1966), “Mrs. Robinson” (1968), “Bridge over Troubled Water” (1969), “The Boxer” (1969), and “Cecilia” (1969)
“[Rock ‘n’ roll] really is not given to thinking — and resents thinking. Which I believe is the big error of rock ‘n’ roll. It’s always aspired to be the music of the working class. And it’s never been looked upon as a vocabulary for art and artistic thinking…We have to be able to expand the vocabulary to express more complex thoughts…” Paul Simon
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (1964)
Sounds of Silence (1966)
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)
And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I, my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost. – “The Dangling Conversation”, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme (1966)
But all my words come back to me
In shades of mediocrity – “Homeward Bound”, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966)
Time, time, time, see what’s become of me,
While I looked around for my possibilities,
I was so hard to please,
But look around, the leaves are brown,
And the sky is a hazy shade of winter.
A Hazy Shade of Winter
Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jest
Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest. – The Boxer”, Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
And after it rains
There’s a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
Its not that the colors aren’t there
It’s just imagination they lack. – “My Little Town”, Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)
“I wanted to sing other types of songs that Simon and Garfunkel wouldn’t do. “Mother and Child Reunion” for example, is not a song that you would have normally thought that Simon and Garfunkel would have done. It’s possible that they might have. But it wouldn’t have been the same, and I don’t know if I would have been so inclined in that direction. So for me it was a chance to break out and gamble a little bit … The breakup had to do with a natural drifting apart as we got older and the separate lives that were more individual. We weren’t so consumed with recording and performing. We had other activities … there was no great pressure to stay together other than money, which exerted very little influence upon us. … We didn’t need the money.” Paul Simon – On the breakup of Simon and Garfunkel as a musical team. Interview with Jon Landau for Rolling Stone (1972);
Garfunkel is an avid reader and bibliophile; his website contains a year-by-year listing of every book he has read since 1968. Currently the list contains more than 1,000 books. He has also read the entire Random House Dictionary.
Garfunkel has an interest in the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, having at least three times read his book Confessions (according to website, the book was the 1st, 252nd, and 1000th book he read).
His all-time favorite pop song is The Beatles’ “Here, There and Everywhere” and his all-time favorite album is Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. When asked about his musical preferences, he answered, “I have a very sure-footed sense of what I like, and exactly how much I like it. Give me two listenings of a song, and I can tell you exactly how it sits with me… I know my musical taste. I know my ears, I know what I respond to.”
“We human beings are tuned such that we crave great melody and great lyrics. And if somebody writes a great song, it’s timeless that we as humans are going to feel something for that and there’s going to be a real appreciation.” Art Garfunkel