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Old 11-21-2002, 10:42 PM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Simon & Garf: Why Did They Break Up?

Why did Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel break up? Was Paul Simon's ego too big for his britches?
Old 11-21-2002, 11:05 PM
poohpah chalupa poohpah chalupa is offline
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AFAIK, yes. Paul was unhappy with sharing the limelight with Art, who was looking to get into acting. Since Paul was writing, arranging, engineering and producing (along with Roy Hallee) most of the work, plus singing on a good chunk of the songs, I think he thought he could be just as successful without Art.

For the most part, I think he was right.

But clearly, Art had the vocal chops and was a superior singer to Paul, and his handful of hits (Travelin' Boy, All I Know, Bright Eyes, etc.) showed this. Unfortunately, having to rely on someone else's material gave him a rather spotty record.

The few reunion shows they performed together purportedly went well, but Simon's ego is renown and it wouldn't surprise me if any possible future colloborative efforts were given the kibosh by him.
Old 11-22-2002, 01:42 AM
JonScribe JonScribe is offline
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Location: Everett, WA
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Always thought that Simon's "One-Trick Pony" was a half-admiring jab at Art.

"He makes it look so easy, look so clean. He moveslike God's immaculate machine..."
Old 11-22-2002, 10:04 AM
Cliffy Cliffy is offline
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They had trouble working together, but since they broke up they've continued to be friends. Not only do they play together on a semi-regular basis, but I believe Artie was the best man at Paul's wedding. I think Simon is probably a pretty difficult person to work with -- he seems prickly.

Old 11-22-2002, 11:32 AM
dorkusmalorkusmafia dorkusmalorkusmafia is offline
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What everyone said above is true. They broke up do to personality conflicts. In the Paul Simon Songbook (I think that is the might be the Complete Paul Simon or some other thing like that) that contains mostly Simon and Garfunkel songs there is talk of their history. It says that they loathed eachother for a good deal of time after the break up but are friends again.
Old 11-22-2002, 11:35 AM
Reuben Reuben is offline
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Location: London, UK
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A very recent biography of Paul left me with the impression that today the relationship is at an all-time low. It quoted Paul as saying he just didn't like the guy (Art) any more. At least, that's what I remember reading... maybe I got it wrong.

Doesn't the SDMB's very own Eve know Paul's brother Eddie? Maybe she could get the Straight Dope on this one for us!

It's great to see lots of Simon/Garfunkle threads... for me they will always be #1. I just *never* get bored of hearing and playing their songs.
Old 11-22-2002, 11:39 AM
kunilou kunilou is offline
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It's like asking why a marriage broke up. Here's another slightly different take that I heard.

Simon wanted to make an album, Garfunkel wanted to make a movie. While trying to work out a schedule that would accommodate them both, Simon supposedly told Garfunkel that he could just come in and lay down the final vocals and it should only take a couple of days.

Garfunkel believed (rightly or wrongly) that he had always had a lot of influence on how the songs were arranged and produced, even some input into the melodies, and was offended by Simon's implication that Garfunkel was just some hack singer. So Garfunkel told Simon to go it alone.
Old 11-22-2002, 11:45 AM
astorian astorian is offline
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Anecdote (I can't vouch that it's true) I once heard that illustrates a big part of the problem.

During one of their 1970 concerts, Garfunkel was alone in the spotlight singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water," while Simon waited backstage. As the song ended, the audience roared with applause, as Garfunkel bowed. Meantime, Simon was muttering to himself, in disgust, "Thank you very much. I WROTE that song."


Well, yes. Simon DID write that song. He wrote almost all of the duo's material, which has earned him critical praise and loads of money. But it appears that even THAT wasn't enough for Simon- he seems to have resented Garfunkel taking any credit for the popularity of their songs.

I'm not saying Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel are mortal enemies, or that they ever came to blows. But they're not close friends now, haven't been in a long time, and even when their relationship was at its best, it was often rocky.

Simon and Garfunkel made great music (and a lot of money!) performing together, but each seemed to resent the other at times. Perhaps that's because each had a talent the other lacked.
Simon is a superb songwriter, but only a so-so singer. Garfunkel was a magnificent singer, in his prime, but never wrote any good songs.

I think Simon resented Garfunkel for having a much better singing voice- that's probably why Simon still sings "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in his solo concerts (he really shouldn't- all he does is remind us how much better Garfunkel did it). He always wanted to prove that HE was responsible for their success, and that he didn't really need Garfunkel. (And, in fairness, he HAS been hugely successful on his own!)

I also think Garfunkel resented being dependent on Paul Simon for his material. Simon is a brilliant songwriter, but he's also a very SLOW songwriter! If you work with him, you have to be prepared for long creative dry spells, during which he's not writing very much.

To oversimplify drastically:

Simon often thought of Garfunkel as an ungrateful jerk who'd been unfairly blessed with a wonderful voice ("Look at you, you golden haired boy with the voice of an angel. Everybody raves on and on about your voice! I'm SICK of it. I'M the one with all the talent. I'M the one who writes all the songs. YOU depend on ME! So, show me a little respect and deference."

And Garfunkel often considered Simon a lazy prima donna who treated him like an unnecessary appendage ("We could be in the studio right now making a new record. We could be on tour right now, making money. I could be doing a hundred different things right now, but nooooooo! Instead, I have to wait around for months at a time for YOUR creative Muse to inspire you!").

During the long periods when Simon wasn't writing new songs, Garfunkel began pursing other interests, like acting (he co-starred in movies like "Catch 22" and "Carnal Knowledge"). In part, I'm sure he did this to show Simon, "Hey, schmuck, I don't need you either! There's plenty I can do on my own!"

In fact, by the time Paul Simon started writing songs for what would be the great "Bridge Over Troubled Water" album, he found himself in an ironically new and unfamiliar position: HE had to wait for Art Garfunkel to finish shooting movies before he could finally record the new album!

Several of the songs on "Bridge Over Troubled Water" deal directly with their impending breakup. "Why Don't You Write Me" and "The Only Living Boy in New York" both seem to be saying, "Where are you Art? Come on back! You must be ready to sing with me again!" And "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" (hint: Garfunkel had been an architecture student) sounds like a sad good-bye to Garfunkel (it seems to be saying, "Hey Art, remember when we were kids, how we used to harmonize together, how much fun we used to have? I miss that... but I guess it's all over.").

They still sang together, off an on, after that. But they pretty much stopped performing together after 1972 (when they did a series of benefit concerts for George McGovern). They never formally split, as far as I know, they just stopped working together.
Old 11-22-2002, 03:47 PM
Xavier Xavier is offline
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I heard it was b/c Art called him a midget in all proportions. Simon proceeded to try and prove him wrong and upon revealing himself was promptly laughed at by the casino regulars. No pain in showbusiness my ass.
Old 11-22-2002, 08:46 PM
WSLer WSLer is offline
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There's an article about Paul Simon in the new issue of The New Yorker. He discusses how he writes songs and other kinds of stuff.

What kinds of stuff?

Other kinds.



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