Song of the Day #4,503: ‘The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) [Live in Central Park]’ – Simon & Garfunkel

I write these posts about a week or so in advance, and when preparing this one, it hit me that I’m about to get to the stretch of posts spanning Election Day and its aftermath. Gulp.

Four years ago, I spent the lead-up to the election posting songs from the 30 Days, 30 Songs project, in which artists took musical shots at Donald Trump in the name of raising money and turning out the vote.

It didn’t work, obviously.

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Song of the Day #4,041: ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’ – Simon & Garfunkel

The Concert in Central Park was the first Simon & Garfunkel album I ever heard. Released in 1982, this recording of the late-1991 benefit concert was my gateway to the duo’s music and also to a half dozen of Paul Simon’s solo tunes.

In fact, it wasn’t until I started diving into Simon & Garfunkel’s catalog that I realized tracks such as ‘Late in the Evening,’ ‘Slip Slidin’ Away,’ ‘Kodachrome’ and ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard’ were actually solo tracks written and recorded after their breakup. I mean, they sound so good performed by both men.

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Song of the Day #2,566: ‘The Boxer’ – Simon & Garfunkel

simon_garfunkel_central_parkA couple of months back I took a look at my birth year, 1972, counting down my favorite album releases and then featuring songs from acclaimed ’72 albums I haven’t heard.

I liked the yearly snapshot thing enough to make it a regular feature on the blog. But rather than move on to 1973, I’m going to jump around the decades a bit. For the next few weeks I’ll focus on 1982.

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Song of the Day #1,234: ‘Slip Slidin’ Away’ – Simon & Garfunkel

Because the Concert in Central Park was originally intended to be a Paul Simon solo gig, many of the featured songs are from Simon’s solo albums.

I imagine the setlist was changed a bit once Garfunkel’s participation was assured (‘Old Friends,’ for example, had to have been an addition meant for the duo) but many of the tracks would likely have been performed whether Garfunkel showed up or not. And that gives listeners the treat of hearing what Paul Simon’s solo records might have sounded like had he never split with Garfunkel.

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Song of the Day #1,233: ‘Old Friends/Bookends Theme’ – Simon & Garfunkel

In September of 1981, a planned Paul Simon solo concert turned into a generation-inspiring event when Simon invited Art Garfunkel to join him onstage in Central Park. Half a million people gathered on the Great Lawn to witness the historic reunion.

The resulting album is a lovely, touching document of the event and a hell of a batch of songs, too. It has a charmingly rough quality, including some flubbed verses and musical stumbles, which only serve to highlight the spontaneity of the show.

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