(1941 - )
Paul Frederic Simon was born October 13, 1941, in Newark
Jersey. He soon moved to Queens in New York City, where
his musical career began at Forest Hills High School. It was there that
Simon met Art Garfunkel, and the duo began singing together. In 1957,
they recorded their first single “Hey, Schoolgirl,” with
Big Records; the single soon reached 49th on the pop charts.
Simon attended and graduated from Queens College, and
became a Brother in the Alpha Epsilon
Pi Fraternity. Between 1957 and 1964, Simon wrote, recorded, and
released more than thirty songs, occasionally reuniting with Garfunkel (who attended Columbia University in Manhattan). Nevertheless, these
albums would be released through minor record labels, such as Amy Records.
Simon also used several different pseudonyms for these recordings, including
Tico as a part of a group called Tico and the Triumphs. It was also
during this time, Simon met Carole King, with whom he recorded several
demos as a duo called The Cosines. Simon also began producing many hit
singles for other bands, including The Vels and the Pedestrians.
In early 1964, Simon and Garfunkel reunited under their
own names; together they got an audition with Columbia Records and were
signed to a contract. Their first record, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was released on October 19, 1964. Although the album initially flopped,
many radio stations began receiving requests to play the single “The
Sound of Silence.” The song eventually went to number one on the
pop charts in the United States. In 1965, Simon went to England after Wednesday’s failure to record a solo album, The Paul
Simon Song Book. However, Simon returned to the United States to
reunite with Garfield, upon the success of “The Sound of Silence.”
Together they recorded several influential albums, including Parsley,
Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) and Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). Simon and Garfunkel would also contribute exclusively to the
soundtrack of the film The Graduate (1967).
Following the release of Bridge over Troubled Water,
Simon began to pursue more solo projects. In 1972, he released Paul
Simon, and There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1973, which
featured such hit songs as “Something So Right” and “Kodachrome”.
His 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years is considered
to be one of his finest works. In 1986, Simon won a Grammy for his album Graceland. In 2002, he recorded the theme song, “Father
and Daughter”, for the animated children’s movie The
Wild Thornberrys Movie. The song was nominated for an Academy Award
for Best Song.
In 1975, Simon and Garfunkel reunited for their Top
Ten single “My Little Town”. In 1981, the duo reunited for
the famous concert in New York City’s Central Park, and released
a reunion album, Hearts and Bones, in the same year.
In 1990, Simon and Garfunkel were inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In 2000, Simon was again inducted into the
Rock and Roll Hall Fame for his solo career. In 2003, the two reunited
again when they received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. This
reunion led to a U.S. tour, followed by a 2004 international encore,
which culminated in a free concert at the Colosseum in Rome.
Sources: “Paul Simon (1941 - ).” American
Jewish Historical Society, American
Jewish Desk Reference, (NY: Random
House, 1999). pg. 405; Paul
Simon : American Masters on PBS; Paul