- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 17, 2011

September 19th marks the 30th anniversary of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel´s reunion concert in Central Park. The concert in New York City was attended by an estimated 500,000. Mr. Simon and Mr. Garfunkel had broken up in 1970 after disagreements over their last (and most successful) album, “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” The New York City duo made five studio albums from 1964 to 1970. The List this weeks looks at the top 10 songs from those albums.

  • 10. “Dangling Conversation”: This haunting song about broken love and failed communication reveals some of Mr. Simon’s best lyrics. “Couched in our indifference/Like shells upon the shore,” writes Mr. Simon. The song was later recorded by Joan Baez.
  • 9. “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.”: The title song from the duo’s debut album is a simple and poignant folk song. While tragic and filled with the dread of what the morning may bring, the tune is also a touching love song.
  • 8. “America”: An achingly beautiful story of a couple traveling across the United States by bus. The song appeared on the “Bookends” album. David Bowie sang a moving version of the song at the “Concert For New York City” after 9/11.
  • 7. “I Am a Rock”: First recorded on “The Paul Simon Songbook” album in August 1965 in England, it was later rerecorded and appeared as the final track on the “Sounds of Silence” album in December 1965. The song was recorded by the British band the Hollies in 1966.
  • 6. “Mrs. Robinson”: This was the duo’s second No. 1 hit. An early version appeared in the motion picture “The Graduate.” The complete song debuted on their album “Bookends” (1968) and earned the duo a Grammy for Record of the Year in 1969.
  • 5. “Homeward Bound”: This folk song was written by Mr. Simon in the industrial town of Widness, near Liverpool, England, in 1965 while he was a solo performer. The song appeared on the “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” album in 1966.
  • 4. “The Only Living Boy in New York”:Mr. Simon wrote this while Mr. Garfunkel was down in Mexico filming scenes for the film “Catch-22.” Mr. Simon felt abandoned as he worked on the “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album alone.
  • 3. “The Boxer”: This was the first hit single from the “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album. The duo performed the missing verse at the Central Park concert. The lyrics from the verse, “After changes upon changes, we are more or less the same,” drew a large applause from the crowd, who associated it with the duo’s 12-year separation.
  • 2. “Bridge Over Troubled Water”: This was from the eponymously titled album. Mr. Garfunkel’s voice range was truly tested with this song. Mr. Simon has acknowledged that while Mr. Garfunkel performed the song alone on the stage, he would stand in the wings thinking, “That’s my song, man.” The tune spent six weeks at No. 1, but the duo separated shortly afterward.
  • 1. “The Sound Of Silence”: The remixed electric/acoustic version of the song started it all and propelled the singing duo to fame. The acoustic version appeared on “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” in 1964. The overdubbed version, with electric guitar by Al Gorgoni, and without the knowledge or participation of Mr. Simon and Mr. Garfunkel, was rereleased as a single in September 1965. It reached No. 1 on New Year’s Day 1966. Mr. Simon sang the song at the recent 9/11 Memorial at ground zero.

Bonus track: “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”: This song didn’t make the Top Ten list, but it´s one of the duo’s best songs, with sublime synchronization of Mr. Simon’s lyrics and Mr. Garfunkel’s voice. The rock-funk band the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sarah McLachlan both produced excellent covers of the tune.

Compiled by John Haydon, who attended the Simon and Garfunkel reunion concert in Central Park in 1981.
Source: Wikipedia, www.rock.in.rs and The Washington Times.