Simon & Garfunkel – The Popular American Folk Rock Duo of the 1960s

From their humble beginnings in Forest Hills, New York City, Paul Simon, a singer-songwriter, and Art Garfunkel, a singer, rose to be one of the greatest counterculture icons of the 1960s. Together with prominent artists such as Bob Dylan, the Beach Boys, and the Beetles, the duo became a significant contributor in social revolution.

The two artists grew up in Forest Hills which was then a predominantly Jewish neighborhood. They went to the same school and from a tender age, they developed an attraction to music and particularly rock and roll. As early as 1953, Simon and Garfunkel started performing in street corners and school dances.

They wrote their first song entitled the Girl for Me in 1956, a year after they joined Forest Hill High School. They went ahead to create another song that they self-recorded at Sanders Recording studio based in Manhattan. It was at this point that they chanced upon Sid Prosen who signed them to Big Records after speaking to their parents.

Simon and Garfunkel Albums

Their single, Hey School Girl, attracted a massive audience after it was played on Alan Freed’s radio show. It sold over 100,000 copies and landed at number 49 on Billboard’s charts. Before graduating from High School, they had released other three singles; That’s My Story, Our Song, and Don’t Say Goodbye. Unfortunately, none of them made it big.

Their first album entitled Wednesday Morning 3 A.M. was recorded in March 1964 and then released in October the same year. However, it only sold 3,000 copies which by all standards was a failure.

Between 1964 and 1965, the duo had alternating periods of success and dry spells. For instance, at one time, the song Carols Dominguez, a single by Simon was picked up by Lorna Music which was a small publishing company. To their surprise, the song sold very well and Simon signed a recording contract with the company.

The Break Ups and Reunions

The song Sound of Silence had sold over a million copies by January 1966 and this was a turning point for the duo. After releasing the Sound of Silence album, the two went ahead to record their fourth album known as Bookends. This is when signs of a break up started becoming noticeable.

The two went into film and this sort of endangered their relationship and collaboration. After the filming season which lasted about 8 months, the group got back together and did a few tours. In 1971, the duo split and then later on had episodes of reunions in 1975, 1977, and 1978.

One of their notable reunions was on September 19, 1981 at the concert in Central Park which attracted over 500,000 people. This prompted Warner Bros. Records to release a live album of their show which did very well in the United States.

Their recent reunion was in 2009 where they did three songs at the Beacon Theatre in Ney York.