Posts Tagged Art Garfunkel
This second full week of January is a week for debut albums. First-outs this week include The Beatles’ Introducing…The Beatles (1/10/64), Led Zeppelin’s 1/12/69 debut, Aerosmith’s 1/13/73 first effort and ZZ Top’s First Album from 1/16/71. Today, January 14, marks the 39th anniversary of Paul Simon’s eponymous debut album (click here for my Rhymin’ Simon playlist).
Hot off his decade-long, multi-platinum gig with partner Art Garfunkel in the acclaimed 60s folk-pop duet Simon & Garfunkel, Simon cooled off for two years to work on his debut album as a solo artist. When released 1/14/72, Paul Simon became the first of three straight Top Ten, million-selling studio LPs for Simon (not including the 1974’s Live Rhymin’).
Paul Simon expands from the straightforward folk-pop music of his Simon & Garfunkel years and includes reggae influences (“Mother And Child Reunion,” a Top Ten hit), African rhythms and texture (“Duncan”), and Latin tinges (“Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard”). This subtle exploration of different musical genres continued with the R&B and gospel influences on 1974’s There Goes Rhymin’ Simon and the jazzy sounds of 1975’s Still Crazy After All These Years, which hit #2 and #1 on the U.S. pop charts (Paul Simon made it to #4 in 1972). After a relatively quiet 10 year stretch, Simon returned in 1986 with Graceland, an album deftly mixing American folk-pop with South African mbaqanga music. Those four albums, plus the heavy Latin sounds of 1990’s The Rhythm Of The Saints are Paul Simon’s best five and an incomparable collection of world-pop from one of the best all-around folk-pop songwriters of all-time.
Simon & Garfunkel’s hugely successful folk-pop partnership was unraveling during the recording sessions for their fifth album. Bridge Over Troubled Water was released on January 26, 1970 and proved to be a fitting and reflective bookend to a turbulent decade and the stellar run for Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, the most popular folk duo of the Sixties – and inarguably all time.
S&G (see my playlist here) found a broad audience in all age groups and across the spectrum of pop and rock music with Bridge Over Troubled Water. With its gospel-tinged title track, the tambourine chops and light African rhythms of “Cecilia,” the haunting mandolin of “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” and the flowing introspection of “The Boxer,” the album won the hearts of the public, garnered multiple Grammy awards, spent more than ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart, and sat for an astounding 33 weeks atop the British charts. But despite their lifelong friendship, the strains of a decade-long artistic association, Garfunkel’s move toward an acting career and Simon’s desire for freedom as a solo artist were causing a rift even before they began to record Bridge in October 1969. By the time the album came out, the ampersand was gone and the two were headed down separate paths.
One of the top selling albums of the 70s and a 25 million plus seller over 40 years, Bridge Over Troubled Water is available as downloads for iPods and mp3 players on iTunes (click here) and can be purchased as a CD or mp3 downloads from Amazon (click here).