Paul Simon

From "Bleeker Street" to "Hurricane Eye", Paul Simon has proved to be one of the most talented songwriters of the past four decades. He is one of a handful of unique musicians who is able to write both intelligent lyrics and sophisticated, rhythm rich music. Paul Simon was born October 13, 1941 in Newark, New Jersey and grew up in the borough of Queens, New York. As a youth, Simon loved two things: sports and music. Rock and roll had just emerged on the scene when Simon met Art Garfunkel, and the two discovered they shared a love of Elvis Presley and Bill Haley. The duo began singing together, with Simon on guitar, in the mid-fifties. They performed around their neighborhood, at school dances, and at parties. The pair became such local favorites that they decided to cut a demo, which was good enough to get them a contract at Big Records. Their one big hit under the name "Tom and Jerry" was a little ditty called "Hey Schoolgirl", which sold 100,000 copies and got them onto Dick Clark's American Bandstand. The two friends eventually went their separate ways, with Simon attending law school and Garfunkel studying architecture, but came back together in the mid-'60s. Simon and Garfunkel recorded their first album, "Wednesday Morning, 3AM", for Columbia, which was a commercial disappointment. A year after the album's release, and without their knowledge, Columbia added a rock backing to "The Sound of Silence" and re-released it. This would become their first No. 1 hit. Other hits soon followed, including "I am a Rock", from "The Sounds of Silence" album, and "Homeward Bound", from "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme". In 1968, Simon wrote the score for Mike Nichols' groundbreaking motion picture, "The Graduate". The album was their biggest hit to date and the single, "Mrs. Robinson" went straight to the top of the charts. The duo won Grammys for Best Song and Best Album. This smash hit was also released on the 1968 album "Bookends", another gold album. Simon and Garfunkel's masterpiece, "Bridge Over Troubled Water", from the album of the same title, won five Grammys in 1970. This would become the legendary duo's swan song. Their partnership and friendship had begun to disintegrate. Simon was sick of being half of something, and Garfunkel wanted to pursue his newfound acting career. Paul Simon's self titled debut solo album went platinum in 1972. The opening track itself, "Mother and Child Reunion", put to rest any concerns about Simon's ability to create great music in the absence of his long time partner Art Garfunkel. "There Goes Rhymin' Simon", Paul's second solo release, was even more successful, with songs such as "Loves Me Like a Rock", "Kodachrome", "Take Me to the Mardi Gras" and the ever poignant "American Tune" emerging as instant classics. A perfectionist, Simon took two years to release "Still Crazy After All These Years", in 1975. This album contained the smash single "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", a song written by Paul, based on a rhyming game he and his young son Harper enjoyed playing together. The creativity of Simon's work, indeed, seemed to have no bounds. Simon produced, starred in, and scored the commercially disapointing movie, "One Trick Pony" in 1980. The accompanying soundtrack album contained the upbeat hit "Late in the Evening". The following year he teamed again with Art Garfunkel for a well-received Central Park concert and international tour. Paul married actress and author Carrie Fisher in 1983 (they had been living together for seven years). The couple's breakup that same year sent him further into an already problematic creative slump. Simon's fifth solo album, "Hearts and Bones" was released this same year, but failed to be recognized as a great success, despite the title track and such Simon favorites as "Train in the Distance" and "Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog After the War". Up until Simon's introduction to the sounds of South African music,

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