So I’ve been listening to these guys for several years and I don’t see what’s wrong with them. I’ve heard c. 15 of their songs . … probably not the world’s best overall sample, but I like the stuff. And I’m wondering, as I was born in 1981, what happened to get them to break up . . . or did they fade out of popularity, or what?
Maybe this belongs in IMHO . . . I was just hoping there was a straightforward answer rather than lots of individual opinions on the matter. Anyway, what gives?
AFAIK, they just got tired of performing together and both wanted to do different things. I think Paul Simon felt that he had reached the limit of creativity that he could achieve with Art Garfunkel around.
Bob is pretty much right. There was a lot of friction in the making of their last album together (Bridge Over Troubled Water). The album was supposed to have an additional song, but they couldn’t agree on what song to add. It’s like many other groups – you just want to move on.
My daughter watches “Arthur” (a PBS cartoon) at her babysitter’s and the other day there was a singing moose (don’t ask) character that was narrating the episode. I thought to my self, “Gee, that voice sounds familiar.”
When the credits rolled, Mr. Moose proved to be Art Garfunkel.
I think he’s done a few albums since the breakup, but they haven’t been as successful as Simon’s (with the exception of the recording of their concert in Central Park in front of something like 500,000 people.)
This reminds me of the SNL episode hosted by Paul Simon (late '80s or early '90’s) in which Jon Lovitz appears to a young Simon & Garfunkel as the devil. As the devil offers the deal to make them famous, Art (played by Anthony Michael Hall, maybe) says, “We’re gonna be real famous and partners forever, wow, that’s great!” and Lovitz replies, “Yeah … something like that.”
(the payoff at the end of the sketch is when Paul boards an elevator and someone points out the awful Muzak version of his song that’s playing. At which point the devil reappears and informs Paul that the muzak and the elevator are his personal hell.)
As to good songs … I don’t know all of what Paul Simon did immediately after the break-up. “Negotiations & Love Songs” is a really good compilation album of mostly his pre-fusion type stuff. The most S&G type songs from it are “Kodachrome” and “Still Crazy After All These Years”. “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” sort of fits, too. And if you do like the later Paul Simon stuff, get Graceland. Excellent album.
The only Garfunkle tune that I can thing of that’s gained real interest was the song “Bright Eyes” off of the Watership Down film soundtrack. Paul Simon seemed to be the major talent of the group if solo success is to prove anyhting.
I thought it was Garfunkel that wanted to move on mostly–to do movies, like Carnal Knowledge. Wasn’t he in that one? Let’s see, yep, him and Jack and Murphy Brown. I’d forgotten that Rita Moreno had a small part. Oh yeh, Art was Nately in Catch-22 too.
If you listen to the two eras for overall impressions, it seems that the S&G era was typified by pretentious, simplistic poetry and simplistic philosophy (which sold well in the early 70’s as the baby boomers tried to find meaning in the world) and the Paul Simon solo stuff is characterized by assorted international music (Peruvian in the early 80’s, African in the 90’s), and a penchant for stuffing as many words into a phrase as possible, along with some very weird imagery (“it was in the early morning hours when I fell into a phone call,” ad infinitum). This resulted in some funky rythyms (which sold well as the baby boomers tried to reunite with their long lost souls and made another last ditch effort to learn to dance). He even made a quick reference to smoking pot in “Late in the Evening.” So it seems that in both cases, the boomers were fed the musical tapioca they were after at the time. It stimulates just enough brain activity to give the impression of being important, without the annoying effort of provoking actual thought. Absolute genius, from a marketing perspective. As far as I can tell, Art Garfunkel was around mostly to sing the high bits.
Ah…Simon and Garfunkel…yes, I love them…
And Paul Simon as a solo artist as well. One of my favorites is Call Me Al.
Actually, I LIKED their stuff together…come on, Kathy’s Song (my name is Kathi); or putting old poems to songs, like Richard Cory, Scarborough Fair, and April Come She Will.
If you look at the credits to a lot of Simon’s songs after the breakup, Garfunkel still sang backup vocals on many of them.
Mentioning Saturday Night Live reminds me of an earlier episode with Paul Simon as the musical guest. This was in the “Not Ready For Prime-Time Players” era, so it wasn’t too many years after the breakup.
Charles Grodin was the host, and he came out to say hi to Paul while wearing an Art Garfunkel wig. He says he thought it would make Paul feel nostalgic. Simon says it’s in poor taste and walks off the stage. Then comes the big surprise as someone walks out of the audience and says, “Give me the wig.” It’s Mr. Arthur Garfunkel himself. Charles hands him the hair and they walk off in opposite directions.
After seeing that, we all knew that Paul and Art were still pals.
After their breakup they performed together at least once on SNL in the 70’s, they did a reunion on Letterman once in the 80’s, and I seem to recall they did a concert in Candlestick park sometime after their official breakup. And I saw them perform “My Little Town” together somewhere a few years ago. Wasn’t “My Little Town” a song on a Garfunkel solo album, with Paul Simon singing backup?
Yeah, whatever you say. Or the other explanation could be that they actually had talent and something to say.
For what it’s worth, the usual story told about the breakup is that Art Garfunkle had the voice and Simon had the songwriting chops. After a while, Simon felt that his talents weren’t being suitably recognized because Garfunkle was the one writing the songs. They both went on to do solo recording careers, but Garfunkle’s was less successful. In my opinion, his choice of material was a bit saccharine (99 Miles for LA, fer example) and he probably got catagorized in the “beautiful music” camp – sort of the kiss of death if you’re trying to sell albums to teenagers.
IIRC, there was another SNL skit (how many episodes were they on, anyway?) that featured Paul Simon as himself but with amazing powers of recall. He would remember someone who was at his concert 20 years ago, the guy who bought his record back in '74, etc… Then Garfunkel walks up to him, says “hey Paul!”, and he draws a blank.
*Originally posted by Finagle *
For what it’s worth, the usual story told about the breakup is that Art Garfunkle had the voice and Simon had the songwriting chops. After a while, Simon felt that his talents weren’t being suitably recognized because Garfunkle was the one writing the songs.**[/QUOTE]
Oops. That should have been “Garfunkle was perceived as having written the songs because he performed them.”
I was at the Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert in Candlestick Park. Apparently the concert was in 1983, since Paul was married to Carrie Fisher at the time, and he was only married to her for a few months. My recollection is that the concert was part of a larger Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour. I remember that Paul brought Carrie out on stage. Since Star Wars fever was still fresh in everyone’s minds, it was a big deal to see “Princess Leia” at the concert.
I still love their music – of course, my musical knowledge basically stops in 1985.