Friday, February 23, 2007

Simon and Garfunkel

Music class in public school was always a lot of fun. We never learned to play instruments at that young age but instead learned the lyrics of many modern day artists. Looking back, we memorized songs such as Signs by Five Man Electrical Band, Black & White by Three Dog Night and Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog by Credence Clearwater Revival. Now, we learned only one or two songs from each of these artists since these were basically the only good songs that we really liked. There was one exception however… Simon and Garfunkel. If I am not mistaken, we learned almost every song that was on their Greatest Hits Album. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel epitomized what most of us considered to be great artists.

Over thirty years later, I still know the lyrics to every one of their Greatest Hits Album! To this day I still sing along to all of their songs. Some of my favourites are as follows: The 59th Street Bridge Song, Scarborough Fair/Canticle, Bridge over Troubled Water and Bookends just to name a few. The one song which stands out in my mind more than any other song is Sounds of Silence. The lyrics, the philosophy behind the lyrics as well as the music is enough to have me close my eyes, shut everything else out and concentrate on each and every syllable to the song.

Simon and Garfunkel are an American popular music duo comprising Paul Simon and Arthur "Art" Garfunkel. They met in grade school in 1953, formed the group Tom and Jerry in 1957, and had their first taste of success with the minor hit "Hey Schoolgirl." As Simon and Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965 backed by the hit single "The Sound of Silence." Simon and Garfunkel were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s. They have received several Grammy’s and are inductees of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them #40 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

They have reunited on several occasions since their 1970 break-up, most famously for 1981's The Concert in Central Park, which attracted 500,000 people. I am sure that you are not surprised but I have The Concert in Central Park laserdisc which is one of my prized possessions. I also have the LP.

I would not be surprised if I was still singing along to their lyrics throughout the rest of my life and long after many will have forgotten them.
Simon & Garfunkel… my all time favourite artists!



Hammer said...

Scarborough fair

This English folk song dates back to late medieval times, when the seaside resort of Scarborough was an important venue for tradesmen from all over England. Founded well over a thousand years ago as Skarthaborg by the norman Skartha, the Viking settlement in North Yorkshire in the north-west of England became a very important port as the dark ages drew to a close.

Scarborough's bay

Scarborough and its surroundings
Scarborough Fair was not a fair as we know it today (although it attracted jesters and jugglers) but a huge forty-five day trading event, starting August fifteen, which was exceptionally long for a fair in those days. People from all over England, and even some from the continent, came to Scarborough to do their business. As eventually the harbour started to decline, so did the fair, and Scarborough is a quiet, small town now.

The history of the song
In the middle ages, people didn't usually take credit for songs or other works of art they made, so the writer of Scarborough Fair is unknown. The song was sung by bards (or shapers, as they were known in medieval England) who went from town to town, and as they heard the song and took it with them to another town, the lyrics and arrangements changed. This is why today there are many versions of Scarborough Fair, and there are dozens of ways in which the words have been written down.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Sound of Silence. A wonderful song. I think the 1960's were rich in songs with both good tunes and meaningful lyrics. This standard will go on. Your LP and laser disc will become very valuable in the near future.

Janice Thomson said...

You just made my day Dave with this post...Simon and Garfunkel are a fave
of mine too and especially "The Sounds Of Silence". There is something otherworldly about this song and I think it probably resonates with anyone who hears it. PBS ran The Concert in Central Park a dozen times last year and I watched every single one. Thank you for posting this.

Beth said...

I had that album and I played the heck out of it, and knew every song. I loved it...I think I'm gonna have to find it on cd somewhere..Sound of silence,one of the best.

CSL said...

I have that album. Well, it's in CD form, now, but I had it as an album years ago. Many great songs on it. Sound of Silence is of course fantastic. And, oh my God, they look so young here.

Dave said...

Hi Hammer!... Thanks for the background inot that song. I always find trivia and other historical pieces on ifo facinating. :-)

Hi LGS!... I hope you are right with the value of the disks though I will probably never sell them...

You are very welcome Janice! :-)

Hi Beth!... I have gone through two copies myself! :-)

Hi cls!... Yes they do look so young! I thought the same thing. :-)

Cheryl said...

I'm sure I could remember most of the words to their songs too. They're just classics. I can remember studying the lyrics in a high school language arts class in the 70's. There's nothing like that kind of music today. I wonder what we'll be humming from the 2000's?

Dave said...

Hi Cheryl!... Well I sure know one thing... I won't be hummin' any rap music! :-)

Anonymous said...

Yeah! Love Simon and Garfunkel, except once when the neighbor below started playing the cd at 1am, fianlly when it got to "The Sound of Silence" I pounded on the floor and yelled "The song is SOUND OF SILENCE A-hole, how's about some!!!!" He must have heard me 'cause it was turned off shortly after.

Josie said...

Dave, what a great post! The Sounds of Silence is my favorite Simon and Garfunkel song as well. They really connected on that one, and no wonder it make them a huge success. Some of the best music (and musicians) came out of the 1960s, didn't they?

Interesting little history post by Hammer as well.


Ruth said...

great bring back so many thoughts from my pass. I loved S&G and was very lucky to see them in concert here in Minnesota. Thanks

Jazz said...

I love S&G. Have every one of their albums except the Greatest Hits one. Their music just doesn't grow old.

Cheryl said...

You've been quiet for too many days. I miss you!

Becky Wolfe said...

I was wondering the same thing. Where are you Dave? Everything ok?

psycho-therapist said...

i enjoy your blog! one thing fascinating about memory is how the songs we learned in our youth still stay fresh while those learned later in life seem so much less likely to grab hold. my brain seems to be made of green cheese when it comes to forming retaining the lyrics to new music but take me back to the 60s and 70s music and it's effortless!