Born on October 13, 1941 in Newark New Jersey, Paul Simon is one of the greatest singer/songwriters ever. In 1957, he and high school pal, Art Garfunkel, wrote and recorded the single, "Hey Schoolgirl", under the name "Tom and Jerry". After some failures, they broke up. Simon still wrote and recorded music as "Tico and The Triumps" and "Jerry Landis". He also attended Queens College and got a B.A. in English. He also studied law but quit to pursue a music career in 1964.
He and Art Garfunkel got back together as Simon & Garfunkel and recorded "Wednesday Morning 3 a.m.". After the commercial failure of the album, they broke up again. Simon left America to go to England, where he played in folk circuits and he made a solo album. Back in America, the producer of their first album, Tom Wilson, dubbed bass, electric guitar, and drums to the all-acoustic song, "Sound of Silence", which propelled them into the folk-rock scene. Simon & Garfunkel were back and, in 1966, they had popularity with the album, "The Sound of Silence", which features songs such as "I am a Rock", "Richard Cory" and "Kathy's Song". Their next album, "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme", had songs such as "Homeward Bound" "The 59th Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)".
In 1967, Mike Nichols asked Simon to write a score for his upcoming movie, The Graduate (1967). Their next album, "Bookends", which is considered one of the greatest albums of the sixties, featured songs such as "Mrs. Robinson" from The Graduate (1967), "Hazy Shade of Winter", "At The Zoo", "America". Their last album, "Bridge Over Troubled Water", featured songs such as the title song, "The Boxer", "Cecilia".
In the seventies, Simon emerged as a singer/songwriter with albums such as "Paul Simon", Still Crazy After All These Years", "Hearts and Bones", "Graceland", and "Songs from the Capeman". Aside from music, he wrote and starred in the movie, One Trick Pony (1980), and reunited with friend, Art Garfunkel, in 1981, to give a concert in Central Park.
|Edie Brickell||(30 May 1992 - present) 3 children|
|Carrie Fisher||(16 August 1983 - July 1984) (divorced)|
|Peggy Harper||(1969 - 1975) (divorced) 1 child|
His incredible musical talent
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel sung and wrote songs under the name 'Tom and Jerry' in the late 1950s.
Released non-charting singles using the stage names "True Taylor" (in 1958) and "Paul Kane" (in 1963).
Before finding fame as a singer/songwriter under his real name, Paul Simon had a handful of minor hit singles under two psuedonyms. The best known psuedonym is "Jerry Landis", a name Simon initially used as a member of the duo "Tom and Jerry"; he also issued some solo material under this name. When the hits as "Landis" stopped coming, he changed his stage name to "Tico", and made some very minor chart entries as a member of "Tico & The Triumphs".
Paul Simon co-wrote the song "Red Rubber Ball" with Bruce Woodley of The Seekers. The song was recorded by the United States' group, The Cyrkle - as well as by The Seekers. Was in Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity in college with Art Garfunkel.
Married to Edie Brickell with whom he has three children: Adrian Edward (born December 1992), Lulu (born April 1995) and Gabriel Elijah (born May 1998).
Was slated to play Dunbar in Catch-22 (1970) before the character was dropped.
After his breakup with Carrie Fisher, he was depressed for 2 years. In 1985, his comeback album 'Graceland', included songs about her.
Father of Harper Simon, from his first marriage.
Generally considers his solo work, especially the albums "Graceland" (1986) and "The Rhythm of the Saints" (1990), to be superior to his work with Simon & Garfunkel.
Asked if there were any songs he'd written that he now regrets recording, he said no. However, he does say he'd hate to be remembered for the song "Feelin' Groovy".
Is good friends with Chevy Chase. The two worked together on "Saturday Night Live" (1975). Chase has appeared in The Paul Simon Special (1977) (TV) and Simon's music videos "You Can Call Me Al" and (alongside Steve Martin) "Proof".
Designated a Kennedy Center Honors recipient for 2002 to replace Paul McCartney. McCartney had originally accepted the award, but later withdrew because of a 'personal scheduling conflict.' The conflict was the wedding of his niece.
Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (as a member of Simon & Garfunkel) in 1990.
Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 (as a solo artist).
Is a Life member of Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity
One of the few artists from his generation to own all the songs he's written.
Didn't want to return to the US from England, where he was enjoying success with his solo album there, but Columbia Records invoked the letter of his and Art Garfunkel's recording contract, forcing him to come back. (His UK album went out of print, and was only reissued in 2004.)
Attended a recording session in 1974 with Art Garfunkel, former The Beatles John Lennon, and singer Harry Nilsson. Lennon directed the session, and he and Simon reportedly clashed on Simon's cue in the song, leading to Simon's walking out (with Garfunkel close behind, making apologies) before anything was recorded.
Is left handed, but plays guitar right handed.
Simon & Garfunkel were voted the 40th Greatest Artists in Rock 'n' Roll by Rolling Stone.
Opened the first "Saturday Night Live" (1975) episode after the September 11th attacks, with his song "The Boxer", following this was the infamous exchange between Rudolph W. Giuliani and Lorne Michaels, where Michaels asked if it was okay to be funny.
Is a long-time friend of fellow New Yorker Lorne Michaels, which has led to Simon and/or his songs appearing in numerous Michaels productions, including "Saturday Night Live" (1975) (several appearances as both host and musical guest); All You Need Is Cash (1978) (TV) (brief appearance); and Coneheads (1993) (song "Kodachrome"). Michaels has also produced several of Simon's specials, including: The Paul Simon Special (1977) (TV); Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park (1982) (TV)_; and "American Masters: Paul Simon: Born at the Right Time (#7.1)" (1993).
Was nominated for Broadway's 1998 Tony Award as Best Original Musical Score for "The Capeman," his music with lyrics by Derek Walcott.
The "sleepy boy" he sings about in his song St. Judy's Comet (from the album There Goes Rhymin' Simon) is his son Harper.
Winner of the British Phonographic Industry Award for International Solo Artist in 1987 following the success of his multi-million selling album "Graceland".
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982.
Awarded the first Gershwin Prize for Popular Music in 2007 by the Library of Congress.
The song, "Scarborough Fair/Canticles", from Simon & Garfunkel's multi-million selling "Parsley Sage Rosemary And Thyme" (1966) album contains a counterpoint melody with anti-war lyrics. The alternate melody and verse were removed when the song was issued as a single in 1967. That is the version that is most heard and performed today, though the original "Canticles " version can still be heard in the soundtrack of The Graduate (1967).
In 1963 Paul recorded the novelty "The Lone Teen Ranger" as Jerry Landes, and it peaked at #99 on the US Pop charts.
He admits he is a highly competitive person, which has colored his relationship with Bob Dylan. He was regularly compared (sometimes unfavorably) to Dylan in the 1960s and responded by disparaging Dylan in the press and even putting out a fairly explicit Dylan put-down song "A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara'd into Submission)". He has since been more friendly towards Dylan, even going on tour with him once.
Even after their divorce in 1983, he and Carrie Fisher continued to date for 8 more years before finally breaking up in 1991.
Graduated from Queens College of the City University of New York (CUNY).
He and Art Garfunkel sang as "Tom & Jerry" for at least one record album in the early sixties.
The public hungers to see talented young people kill themselves.
I don't see much truth in laurels, period. The forces of habit make you go on. There's an internal engine that's been running since I was 14; I keep an ear out to see if it's still purring and it is. It chronically purrs. Music making is who you are and it doesn't go away. If you love to play music, you're lucky.
Dylan (Bob Dylan) frequently reinvents himself, and at a very sophisticated level. Nobody ever did it better. That's his real genius. He's still interesting. Love And Theft is a fascinating record.
Brian Wilson is a couple of years younger than I am - but not many - and his stuff is still interesting. The same goes for Tom Waits. There are other people doing interesting work, but the people doing it aren't coming from the same history of enormous popular success that I've had. There's a certain expectation that I'm going to reach the level I was at back when I was enormously successful. That may be impossible to do at this point.
If a song lives for a couple of years, it's a pretty good thing.
I did not set out to make a political statement. I was making a cultural statement with political implications. (On recording Graceland in South Africa)
I started to build the albums around rhythms in response to my frustration with the album that preceded Graceland, which was Hearts And Bones. I felt with that album that I had written some songs that were better than the tracks that went on the album. I couldn't get things to fit together, so I ended up changing the songs to fit the tracks and then I thought: 'My demo was better than this.' So with Graceland I thought I'll just make tracks that I really like and then I'll write the songs, the words, and if I don't like what they sound like set to the music I'd throw things out and start again, which on a couple of occasions I did.
I'm generally enthusiastic when I'm working and when I immediately finish I'm enthusiastic. Shortly after that I don't want to hear it. It's always been my way. It's such an intense process for me and the process itself can take so long, and I get into it so completely, that by the time I've finished a piece of work I'm really finished with it. I'm done. What happens then is I don't do anything for usually a year or so.
What I'm thinking about now and what I'm talking about is really not for a huge audience. It would be unusual to find anybody at my age who is selling enormous amounts of records to the record-buying public.
The public will always find the artists it needs.
I'm just an artist, because that's my personality trait, a characteristic of how my brain works. I can't figure out a lot of things, I'm not a computer scientist. This is who I am. This is what I do. I make up songs and I try to make them as interesting as possible.
I like to reinvent the old material, take the songs somewhere they maybe haven't been.
Nobody says you should stop painting when you're 60. Nobody says you should stop writing novels when you're 60. Nobody says that B.B. King should stop playing the blues. So The Rolling Stones go out there and people call them dinosaurs and they say, "What are you talking about? We're reinventing what you can do at our age and if you don't like it, OK, but don't try to stop us."
I think if you have the gift of writing a political song, like those early Bob Dylan songs that were political, it's a gift to be able to write that kind of song. Phil Ochs had it, too. But most other people really couldn't. So you get "Eve of Destruction" or other imitations of those really good songs and it makes it seem like it's frivolous. So you stay in your own world. Somebody said, "If I went to South Africa I certainly wouldn't come back and write a song like 'You Can Call Me Al'." But 'You Can Call Me Al' was a pretty interesting song. It starts off and it's about somebody who's completely self-involved and travels to a place where he becomes aware of the universe and the whole world from the experience he has. And essentially that was the gift of Graceland, as opposed to it tearing down the walls of apartheid. It showed people, it was inspiring without being didactic. And the criticism was, "You have a responsibility to be didactic."
When I listened to what popular music was in South Africa, it wasn't political music.
I think Graceland was remarkable in two different ways. One, it was a very interesting artistic leap that combined cultures in a way that was accessible and gave people great joy and insight into another country. It was very successful as a marriage of different cultures, which is not easy to do. The other thing is it provoked a really interesting political discussion, which really came down to how effective is a cultural boycott if the people that it's affecting most are the people who are being oppressed? And that eventually turned people away from the cultural boycott as a tool of fighting that particular kind of oppression, because it wasn't an efficient tool. It didn't do the job. It did the opposite. Graceland was the catalyst that got people into that discussion. It was really Hugh Masekela who focused that discussion and said, "Hey, this is a good thing for South Africa. We want our music out there."
I really wanted to get off Warner Bros. I didn't think they understood what I was doing on the last couple of albums. They just wanted me to make hit singles, which is not really possible for me. It would be a fluke if I had a hit single. I don't make that kind of music anymore.
Look at what we did to the planet. We ruined the planet. Take away the human beings and all their inventions and all the stuff we've made and the mess we make and you've got a much cleaner planet. It would be a lot healthier than it is right now. Would life be better for a zebra without mankind? Absolutely. Would it be better for the trees? Absolutely.
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