Author Topic: Simon, Garfunkel and the swansong that has lasted 50 years  (Read 575 times)

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Offline TomSea

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Simon, Garfunkel and the swansong that has lasted 50 years
« on: January 27, 2020, 12:13:00 am »
A few articles came out on this, this weekend. I thought I'd post.

Simon, Garfunkel and the swansong that has lasted 50 years
Bridge Over Troubled Water released 50 years ago this week. See why the world is still crazy after all these years
art-and-culture Updated: Jan 25, 2020 17:34 IST
Rachel Lopez           Hindustan Times

When you’re weary, feelin’ small, it’s possible that you still turn to Bridge over Troubled Water on your Spotify. Half a century ago this week, American duo Simon & Garfunkel released the song on their self-titled album, not realising how much it would play on. Here’s what makes it iconic.

It came at the right time All through the late 1960s, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel ruled the charts. Their easy-listening folk-rock spoke to peaceniks and protestors. Bridge… was the top-selling album of 1970, pushing 6 million copies. But few knew that this was to be Simon & Garfunkel’s farewell work. When the duo split, the album became the final souvenir, the last song, essentially their goodbye. 

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It’s a little personal What sound like lyrics of hope and support came out of the deteriorating relationship between the composer and songwriter. Garfunkel was already focusing on an acting career (he debuted in Catch-22 in 1970; Simon’s part got written out). And filming delays meant no music work got done. Those “down and out” moments when “friends just can’t be found” make it to the lyrics.

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The forgotten political roots of Bridge over Troubled Water
Dorian Lynskey

On the evening of 30 November 1969, the silver-haired actor Robert Ryan introduced CBS viewers in the US to a buzzkill of historic proportions: Simon and Garfunkel’s first ever TV special. “These two young men have attracted a tremendous following among the youth of America with their lyrical interpretation of the world we live in,” said Ryan, who was a genuine fan. “We think you will find the next hour both entertaining and stimulating.”

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel certainly hoped so. According to executive producer Robert Drew, Simon talked about using the primetime opportunity as a Trojan horse for “a home movie about where he thought the nation was”. Directed by actor Charles Grodin, Songs of America used the duo’s hits to soundtrack footage of riots, marches and the war in Vietnam, much to the horror of sponsors AT&T, who demanded their $600,000 investment back. Even more sympathetic viewers found the movie’s earnest sermonising hard to swallow.

We first meet Simon and Garfunkel in the back of a car. Coming off the back of four hit albums and two number one singles in four years, the 27-year-old superstars are not overburdened with humility. When Garfunkel brings up the subject of America’s imminent bicentennial, a camera-conscious Simon gazes into the distance and asks solemnly: “Think it’s gonna make it?” This mood of pensive pomposity comes to dominate the film, as Simon frets: “What’s the point of this album? The world is crumbling”, and Garfunkel less coherently ponders “the chaos of what the hell is the whole thing about”.

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