Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits: A Look Back

Simon and Garfunkel in Concert

Source

Introduction

"Hello darkness my old friend", not many artists would start a song like that back in the sixties, and yet, this line became famous as part of the song "Sounds of Silence". I realize if you were born after 1970 you may never have heard of Simon and Garfunkel, but, may have heard of Paul Simon. You see, after they split up Paul Simon continued to write and sing songs on his own. Maybe you heard of "Mother and Child Reunion" or "You Can Call Me Al"? Both Paul Simon hits.

But, what about Simon and Garfunkel? Let's go back and take a look at the duo that was a hit as folk singers and rock and rollers!

Tom & Jerry

Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel in Dublin, Ireland, probably 1981.
Art Garfunkel in Dublin, Ireland, probably 1981. | Source

Simon and Garfunkel - Early Days

I'm going to really test your memory. Do you remember a song called "Hey School Girl"?

Hey, school girl in the second row
The teacher's lookin' over
So I got to whisper way down low
You say, woo-bop-a-loo-cha-bah, let's meet
After school at three

This IS a brain teaser. A hit from 1957 sung by Tom and Jerry. Besides being a hit, the flip side was a popular one as well. Do you remember "Dancin' Wild"? If neither of these songs ring a bell, you're too young! Now that you're scratching your head let me explain that Tom and Jerry are Simon and Garfunkel. Let me further explain, in case you haven't figured it out for yourself, 1957 is a long time ago. I was only ten years old but had an older brother who played this music and yes, I still have the 45 rpm of this song. Paul Simon once admitted, years later, that the name "Tom and Jerry" came from the cartoon characters; the cat, Tom and the mouse, Jerry.

They met in grammar school during a play of "Alice in Wonderland" but didn't sing until later. Paul Simon has said that "Artie" was the most talented singer in the neighborhood, "in the fourth grade, that prompted me to become a singer."

They began writing songs in 1955 and recorded the aforementioned two songs in 1957 for two different record labels. They recorded it thinking it would be their 'swan song'. Although it was a popular song it only reached #49 on the charts. Obviously, things didn't go too well. After graduating from high school they both went on to college; Simon to Queens College in Queens, and Garfunkel to Columbia University in Manhattan.

In 1964 the duo got together again and changed their names from Tom and Jerry to Simon and Garfunkel. They released an album that was mostly folk music which, at the time, was also a flop. Paul Simon moved to England (without Art Garfunkel) and continued to perform and write songs. I might add here that Simon and Garfunkel's idols were the Everly Brothers whose harmony greatly influenced the music of Simon and Garfunkel. Its no wonder they were both my favorites!

Sound of Silence

Hello,darkness my old friend

I've come to talk with you again

Because a vision softly creeping

Left it's seed while I was sleeping

And the vision that was planted in my brain

Still remains

Within the Sound of Silence

Paul Simon

Paul Simon playing in Washington, D.C. in 2011
Paul Simon playing in Washington, D.C. in 2011 | Source

Simon and Garfunkel As We Know Them

Along came the sixties and folk music and Simon and Garfunkel back together. This time they made it as a top folk music and rock duo. Paul Simon was, and still is, a very talented song writer. With very few exceptions, he wrote all of their songs. Their reunion was a success. In 1966 "I Am A Rock" reached number three on the record charts. Probably one of their most famous and recognizable songs is "Mrs. Robinson". Most of you will remember it from the movie "The Graduate". "Mrs. Robinson" won the Grammy for Record of the Year in 1969 and Paul Simon was awarded Grammy for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.

Trouble began between the two in 1969. There were disagreements about songs to record for an album, "Bridge Over Troubled Water". Despite their troubles, the title song of the album, "Bridge Over Troubled Waters', featuring Garfunkel's incredible voice, reached number one on the charts and stayed there for six weeks. At the Grammy Awards, that album took home Album of the Year and Record Of The Year, Best Engineered Record, Best Contemporary Song, Song Of The Year, and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists. Their next album in 1972 was probably their most beloved by fans, "Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. But, the second split followed.

Paul Simon continued writing, singing and recording albums. Garfunkel did some acting and recording but did not reach the level of success Paul Simon did. In 1972 they reunited for a concert at Madison Square Garden to benefit George McGovern. In 1975 they appeared on Saturday Night Live, and reunited again in Central Park for a free concert in 1981. They did several reunion tours including a tour featuring special guests, The Everly Brothers! Actually, I got to see them at one of those reunion concerts in NYC. What a thrill. Even though I was sitting behind them, on a circular stage, they made it a point to turn around and sing to those of us "in the back". It's a concert I'll never forget. I think my voice returned about three days later.

In 2010, Art Garfunkel suffered from vocal chord paresis (paralysis) which ended their reunions for a while.

The Boxer

Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits

Sounds of Silence
Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Mrs. Robinson
Scarborough Fair
El Condor Pasa/If I Could
The Boxer
For Emily: Wherever I May Find Her
I Am a Rock
Homeward Bound
Feelin' Groovy
Cecelia
A Hazy Shade of Winter
The Only Living Boy in New York

Closer Look at Some Songs

On again, off again, they are still loved by many fans past and present. Their voices and their music are incomparable.

Take "Mrs. Robinson". Though it was written for "The Graduate" there was a lot going on in that song. It is said it was originally entitled "Mrs. Roosevelt" but was changed for the movie. When it was Mrs.Roosevelt Simon wrote, "We'd like to help you learn to help yourself. Look around you, all you see are sympathetic eyes" and "Going to the candidates debate. Laugh about it, shout about it. When you've got to choose. Every way you look at it, you lose." Some believe those words show what a strong woman Mrs. Roosevelt was but at that time women couldn't be in politics though many believe she was definitely the power behind the President. "Hide it in the pantry with your cupcakes" is believed to have meant her pride and political aspirations, NOT her pot.

What about "Sound of Silence"? That song is ripe with interpretations. It is believed Paul Simon took six months to write this song. The most popular interpretation is of a man alone. Nobody is listening to him, in fact, nobody is listening to anyone. According to songfacts.com, "The opening line, "Hello darkness, my old friend," came from Simon's time as a boy when he would sing in the bathroom with the lights out, enjoying the acoustics from the tiles that provided a doo-wop reverb sound."

"People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening,'' an unfortunate sign of the sixties, people not listening to each other, even when they are speaking.

Then there's "I Am A Rock". A truly sad song. It appears to be a song about someone who feels so alone. "I am an island" . He's steeled himself against the pain of love and the betrayal of others, "I've built walls, A fortress deep and mighty, That none may penetrate. I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain." This poor soul is trying to overcome his loneliness and hurt, ending with "A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries".


Conclusion

I could write and write about Simon and Grafunkel and their fabulous music. Their continuing popularity because of their music. Back in the day they were believed to have a 'social' conscience. Whatever it is, their music sticks in your head. Why, you may even leave this hub humming one of their great hits! Even songs like "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme" stick with you. No doubt that song was influenced by Paul Simon's stay in England.

However, all good things must end and so must this hub. I hope you have enjoyed reading about one of my favorite duos. Please leave comments and thoughts.

Their vocal harmonies, and memorable songs will be with us for a long time.

Copyright Tillsontitan - All Rights Reserved


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Comments 56 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

Bev's favorite singing duo....we listen quite often to their oldies. The Boxer is my personal favorite, but Sounds of Silence is a close second.

Loved this hub, Mary; thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Okay Bill, I just posted this hub and voila, there you are! Thank you for your constant loyalty.

I love S&G...just finished listening to their CD but I need a new one as mine is scratched. Sound of Silence and I Am a Rock are my top two but The Boxer is definitely up there!


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

As I was reading this Simon and Garfunkel were playing on the radio. What a coincidence. I still love their music. Voting up and sharing.


cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 3 years ago from Western NC

Wow! I discovered them as a kid, actually. My dad would listen to them on the radio when he would drive me to piano lessons on Saturday mornings. Ceceilia was one of my favorites until I discovered Sounds of Silence. :)


Sunshine625 profile image

Sunshine625 3 years ago from Orlando, FL

Simon and Grafunkel rock! I forgot how many of their songs I liked until I counted them off on your greatest hits list...6 songs! Woot! Smokin' hub!


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

This was one of the most inspirational groups in my life. Reading your hub evoked many a memory of finding stairwells where my buddies and I could do "The Sounds of Silence" in a cappella fashion. Simon, in the true nature of the folk song artist, wrote poetry that was set to music. His songs have an abundant amount of imagery, allegory, and narrative. "...a pocketful of mumbles, such are promises..." is a beautiful line--on one level, a rite of passage for an adolescent or young man who hasn't quite yet found his "voice," or identity; and on another level, a protest against the b.s. of politicians. Like you, I could go on and on. One more thought that your hub inspired--Anne Bancroft! For an adolescent boy like me watching deadpan Dustin Hoffman being seduced by the super hot actress, OMG! I was so invigorated that I wrote a letter to my girlfriend about how her mom reminded me of Mrs. Robinson, and the most horrible thing happened...her mom intercepted the letter. I'd hub about it, but I don't have the guts to put up with the fallout. LOL! Thanks for a great read, Mary--your hubs trigger reactions in readers, and that's what makes you rock as a writer!


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 3 years ago from Alabama

Interesting stuff about Simon and Garfunkel I didn't know. And i love their songs, especially Sounds of Silence and I am a Rock. Appreciate this hub and what I learned about these talented people.


JayeWisdom profile image

JayeWisdom 3 years ago from Deep South, USA

You've got that music going through my mind again...and I love it! My favorite Simon and Garfunkel song has always been "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Back in the day when I still had a singing voice, I'd play piano and sing it at parties. Good memory.... Now its track is playing in my head. I'll be sitting at my electronic keyboard picking out the song this evening. I play "oldies" music every time I read one of these hubs, Till. Thanks (as Bob Hope used to sing) for the memories!

Voted Up+++

Jaye


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til...By now, it's safe to say that I've made it known, I love anything and everything about the '60's....S&G are no exception. Their music was magic. Did hate to see them split up, but they're not the first. I recently watched an interview with Paul Simon. Very interesting....but not an interesting as your hub. Thanks, gf...UP+++


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 3 years ago from England

How lovely that you got to see them! I remember seeing on tv how they argued over bridge over troubled water, Paul wanted to sing it, but his voice was to low, so Art got to sing it and got great reviews, they argued and it was never the same since. I love their music its great! voted up!


Mhatter99 profile image

Mhatter99 3 years ago from San Francisco

Thank you for this escape down memory lane. A lot of fond memories here.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 3 years ago from southern USA

I have always loved Simon and Garfunkel and have used a couple of their songs on my hubs. My favorite, "Sound of Silence." Plus we used to sing "Scarborough Fair" in high school in chorus. I just love their songs and they do stick in your head. Now, I will be singing "Scarborough Fair" in my head all night . . . how lovely.

Voted up +++ and sharing

God bless. In His Love, Faith Repaer


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Coincidence or destiny Carol? Great music lives on...

Cyclit girl the antics of Cecelia and the rhythm of that song are great. No one cannot love Sound of Silence.

SS, a list to rival yours ;). Truly just some great songs.

HawaiiO you bring back singing memories for me as well. Hmm, your girlfriend's mother...shades of Anne Bancroft. I so love your comments and insights, they add to my hubs.

WND so happy I could give you information you didn't know about this dynamic duo.

Oh Jaye, now I too will have Bridge in my head. Wish I could be there to hear you play.

Effer only you would say I'm not as interesting as Paul Simon...not as rich, yes, but not as interesting? Now if I only had his money! Thanks for the votes GF.

You are right Nell that was their Waterloo...so glad they got back together though. It was a thrill to see them, even at 55!

MHatter, so glad I could take you down the lane!

So glad you enjoyed Faith...they were often political but kept their songs beautiful...remember me to one who lives there....May God bless you today and everyday!


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Til....Honey, snap out of it. Effer said that your hub is MORE interesting than the Paul Simon interview......I have a feeling, you read my comment correctly....and wrote your response incorrectly.....

aHA!...and they say I'm easily fooled!


byshea profile image

byshea 3 years ago

What a great hub! I was born in the 60's and I don't think my musical interests have ventured much farther though I always try. I brought back memories of many things reading this hub. Love it!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Ah my dearest Effer do you actually think I could be confused ;). You my dear are 100 per cent correct. I read it right and wrote it wrong...anyone mention dyslexia?

It was a great time to be born byshea. I am happy to see you here and appreciate your stopping byand commenting.


midget38 profile image

midget38 3 years ago from Singapore

I love this duo. I'm a little young for them, but grew up with their music because dad always plays it with his band. Still does today! Thanks for sharing, Mary. I will pass this great hub on, with votes up and all over.


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 3 years ago from Riga, Latvia

Voted up and awesome. One of my favorite singing duos. I could listen to them any time any day. Love their songs. I don't have too many favorites of just Paul Simon but the two of them can't be beat. Loved this. Passing it on.


Greensleeves Hubs profile image

Greensleeves Hubs 3 years ago from Essex, UK

Simon and Garfunkle are among my favourite performers of all time. Indeed I think I have all of their albums as CDs, and I would say that although the classics are all great songs, there are many others worthy of more airplay. Particular favourites are 'A Most Peculiar Man' (very sad), 'Richard Cory ', and 'The Sun is Burning', all of which have great depth and poignancy.

It is nice on this page to see some insight into the meaning behind some of the songs, and particularly the details about Simon and Garfunkle's early career together, which I did not know about. Voted up.


Stephanie Henkel profile image

Stephanie Henkel 3 years ago from USA

I love Simon and Garfunkle, and still enjoy listening to their music. Enjoyed learning more about this duo through your hub...great article! Voted up and interesting!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

My kids grew up with S&G too Michelle. When you listen to their music you can't help but love it. Thanks for the votes and shares.

Thanks Gypsy. I could listen to them all day too, and actually have on occasion ;)

Greensleeves, you are so right, regardless of the age of their songs, they are all timeless. Glad you enjoyed reading.

Stephanie, we are from the same era so its nice to know we share the same tastes in music :)


Mike Robbers profile image

Mike Robbers 3 years ago from London

Ok, great hub. It's sixties and we simply love it! They must be one of the most successful music duos in the history of pop music.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Mike. To me the sixties wouldn't be the same without Simon and Garfunkel!


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 3 years ago from Kentucky

Mary - Great Hub! I could list so many more songs by S&G that I've loved for years (Old Friends, Keep The Customer Satisfied, and America ... just to name three) that we'd have the entire S&G songbook listed. Of course, like many, "The Sounds of Silence" from "Sounds of Silence" lp has always been special. I used to sing it to my wife to get her to stop chattering non stop! lol Really a great job!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Rich, I think your wife must be a saint ;) Seriously, glad you enjoyed...we all loved S&G with so many great songs, like you said.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

This was an awesome write up on these guys. Love them and have always loved the song "I am a Rock". I'm going to have to dust off an old cd today. Thanks.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Glad you enjoyed Glimmer...I always have one of their CDs handy.


loveofnight profile image

loveofnight 3 years ago from Baltimore, Maryland

WOW.....what a walk down memory lane. I love these guys and now "The sound of silence" is stuck in my head. I believe that it is time for me to dust off some oldies and reminisce. You did a great job with this hub, thanks for the read.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm smiling at Sound of Silence being stuck in you head...I've been humming it since I wrote this hub! Thanks loveofnight.


Genna East profile image

Genna East 3 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

Brilliant poetry and lyricism; these are only two of the talents of this fabulous duo. ‘The Boxer’ has always been my favorite although most people like’ Sounds of Silence’ the best. Their artistry definitely had a social conscience of voice, but one that is timeless. ‘Magic’ gains a new definition when applied to Simon and Garfunkel. Wonderful hub, Till!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

What a lovely comment Genna and so true about Simon & Garfunkel. There'll never be another pair like them.


Casimiro 3 years ago

Wonderful trip back into time, though I'm still too young to remember the '57 singles. Along with the Beatles and others, S&G were always being played. I recently saw Catch-22 again, in which Art Garfunkel had a role.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Well, your youth may keep you away from "memories of S&G" it seems, you do know about them, you have to admit, they are good. Thanks for stopping by and commenting Casimiro.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Well, though you may be too young to "remember" them, you seem to be familiar with them as most people are. Art Garfunkel is certainly a "character" but together these guys can sing. Thanks for stopping by Casimiro.


sgbrown profile image

sgbrown 3 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

This is wonderful! I've always loved Simon and Garfunkel and have several of their songs on a cd I keep in my car. It was very interesting to read about the lives. What a thrill it would have been to have seen their concert and with the Everly Bros., what a plus! I loved your hub! Up and interesting! :)


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks sg. They weren't with the Everly Brothers when I saw them, but that's okay, they were spectacular. So happy to know you enjoyed this hub as I enjoyed writing it.


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

Awesome hub! I love Simon and Garfunkel. I have several of the songs you've mentioned on my ipod, with "Cecelia", "I Am A Rock", and "El Condor Pasa" being my favorites. I also have many of Paul Simon's songs from after he went solo. I love the stuff he did with Ladysmith Black Mambazzo.

Really enjoyed reading this. Now I have to go listen to some music!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Sharkye so glad you enjoyed. Their songs were just the best and certainly stand the test of time. Hope you enjoyed listening to your music ;)


molometer profile image

molometer 3 years ago

What a great tribute to these fantastic artists.

I bought their songbook back in the day and learned to play them all on the Guitar.

Simon and Garfunkel's greatest hits, is part of the soundtrack to our lives.

Well written and informative.

All the votes.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

How wonderful is it that you can play all their songs on the guitar! I love your quote "the soundtrack of our lives", simply but beautifully put. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and vote, it is appreciated and good to see you here.


bdegiulio profile image

bdegiulio 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi Mary, don't know how I missed this one. Simon and Garfunkel certainly were a apart of my growing up during the 70's. Their "Bridge Over Troubled Water" is still one of my all-time favorites. Their music is timeless and has certainly withstood the test of time. It was really interesting to read about their early days and the history behind some of their songs. This was a very enjoyable way for me to start a Sunday morning. Voting up, sharing, etc.....


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Bill. "Sail on Silver Girl, Sail on by, Your time has come to shine

All your dreams are on their way" Have a Happy dream-filled Sunday!


JoanCA profile image

JoanCA 3 years ago

I've loved Simon and Garfunkel since I was a kid. But I only have their greatest hits. It's still being played regularly after many years. I've been thinking about checking out some of their albums but haven't got around to looking into them. It's hard to build up collections from artists who've been around a long time because they usually have so many albums. It's easier with the younger artists I like because I just buy each album as it comes out.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

You can certainly find many of Simon & Grafunkel's albums, most now on CD. Hope you find some you can enjoy.


mperrottet profile image

mperrottet 3 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

I never realized that they had been together as early as the 50's under the Tom and Jerry name. I was twelve at the time, and interested in music, but missed that. I always loved Simon and Garfunkel, and still play their music. Great trip down memory lane - voted up++


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks MP...yes, their song was "Hey Schoolgirl" with the flip side "Dancin Wild"...very, very different from the Simon & Grafunkel we know! Always good to see you here.


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

This is music that I grew up with, so I remember it well. The surprising things, many of the kids that I work with also know my music. It pleases me that this stuff is far from dead and it lives on!


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 3 years ago from New York Author

Its good to know other kids besides mine are still listening to this music! Thanks for stopping by aviannovice.


goodmovies profile image

goodmovies 2 years ago from Texas

When I was a young teenager, my mom gave me a cassette tape case with 8 cassettes in it. One of them was Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits. Thanks for bringing back some memories.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Goodmovies, always a good thing when we can bring back memories, you're welcome.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Oh this brings back memories! I loved their music--then and now--


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Audrey, ditto. I still listen to their CDs and love it when I hear them on the radio!


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

I definitely remember these giants who dominated the airwaves in my high school days and long afterward. I can't stop singing "Mrs. Robinson" now as it was among my favorites and still is. ("Jesus loves you more than you will know...wo wo oh.") What a wonderful pair of performers with such writing talent that has lasted through the ages! And what an experience it must have been to see them in person. Wow.


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

Peg, I was thrilled! We were kind of sitting behind them but it didn't matter cause they kept turning around. They sounded just as good in person as they do on the air waves.


Rolly A Chabot profile image

Rolly A Chabot 2 years ago from Alberta Canada

Well written and certainly a reminder of the past... I did love their sound then and still do... great work Mary... Thank you.

Hugs from Canada


tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 2 years ago from New York Author

So good to see you Rolly, so much better than the "Sounds of Silence" while you were away. You are most welcome. Sending hugs right back to you.

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