This record was a smash hit for the duo. In fact, for the decade before the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller in 1982, this was the best-selling album of all time. But Simon and Garfunkel has already decided to part ways. The front cover, with Simon partially obscuring Garfunkel’s face, was perhaps unintentionally symbolic of the dynamic between them.
Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel (1970)
Simon & Garfunkel’s final album was their finest, in large part because it feels like a swan song.
There was plenty of tension between the duo during the writing and recording of the album — some of which found its way into the songs — and an undercurrent of melancholy to the project that serves it well.
Simon & Garfunkel recorded together for just six years, releasing only five albums, but they made a major impact on popular music both through their sound and through the classic songs Paul Simon wrote for them to perform.
A couple of years after their (second) breakup, Paul Simon would start his solo career in earnest, but Garfunkel would remain a presence in his music in one way or another for more than a decade.
Simon & Garfunkel’s fifth and final album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, was released in 1970 and became the duo’s best-selling record as well as a Grammy Album of the Year winner. It was a massive critical and commercial success, topping the charts in 10 countries and selling more than 25 million copies worldwide.
And it was recorded and released as the lifelong friends saw their partnership collapse.
Simon & Garfunkel saved the best for last. Their final studio album, 1970’s Bridge Over Troubled Water was their most accomplished yet, featuring several enduring classics and their most sophisticated production.
Despite being lifelong friends (or perhaps because of that), Simon and Garfunkel broke up a lot. In fact, they nearly ended their career as a duo before it began, separating before the release of Sounds of Silence. By the time Bridge Over Troubled Water came out, the boys had reached their breaking point and the album became a poignant swan song for the legendary act.
Keeping things light around here, man.
Paul Simon has always said he hates playing this song and hopes he isn’t remembered for writing it. But I can think of far worse things to be remembered for.
Certainly his contribution to popular music, both lyrically and musically, is far deeper and more meaningful than this little ditty (or bauble, as my father would say). But is there really anything wrong with writing a song that puts an instant smile on people’s faces?
As least it was obscure until Zach Braff put it in Garden State and every 17-28 year-old in America gobbled up the soundtrack because it made them feel as languorously cool as the characters in that movie.