One of the most cherished folk acts of the mid to late 1960's was the melodious Simon and Garfunkel. Consisting of just two members, Paul Simon (1941), and Art Garfunkel (1942), the duo captivated a generation with their poetic lyrics and soft sincere harmonies.
The two childhood friends from Forest Hills, New York began singing together in high school and achieved success in 1957 under the name Tom and Jerry with the top 40 single "Hey School Girl," which sold over 150,000 copies. During these early years they performed original songs inspired by early 1950's musicians such as the Everly Brother's and by folk style harmonies.
By 1964 the two had abandoned the name Tom and Jerry, choosing instead to use their surnames. The release of "The Sounds of Silence" in 1965 offered a safe, rather synthetic form of protest music that occasionally questioned society's values without really challenging them, and introduced a new style of harmonic folk rock that appealed to a variety of age groups. Much of the material for this album, as well as their others, was composed by Paul Simon.
In 1966, their success skyrocketed as three of their albums and four of their singles, including "I Am a Rock," "Homeward Bound," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water" achieved chart-topping status. In addition they wrote the soundtrack for the classic film The Graduate which featured the single "Mrs. Robinson."
Simon and Garfunkel offered a more accessible, yet literate style of music that served to balance the more acerbic and confrontational folk protest of the time. Although they broke up in 1972, Simon & Garfunkel have periodically reunited for concerts, including the famous 1981 concert in Central Park.
Both Simon and Garfunkel have had solo careers. Paul has achieved a much greater degree of critical and commercial success and has experimented with a wide variety of folk styles that include more global influences.
Page author: A.E. & C.F.';