Paul Simon is on tour in support of his latest album, So Beautiful or What. Don't miss Simon as he performs all across the United States. Get your Paul Simon tickets today and enjoy a concert with one half of the legendary Simon & Garfunkel.
Paul Simon is an American music icon almost fifty years in the making. Although Simon had spent much of his teenage years writing music, it wasn't until he reunited with his childhood friend Art Garfunkel in 1964 to form the duo Simon & Garfunkel that the pair finally caught the eye of recording industry powerhouse Columbia Records. Success did not come immediately for the duo. Their first folk-based LP Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was considered a flop, but one track off the album, "The Sounds of Silence" struck a note with listeners.
After being overdubbed with electric guitar, bass, and drums to give it a rock edge, "The Sounds of Silence" became Simon & Garfunkel's first number one hit. From there, Simon & Garfunkel would go to record some of America's most beloved folk-rock songs including "Homeward Bound," "The Boxer," "Mrs. Robinson," and perhaps their most famous song "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
By 1969, Simon & Garfunkel's success began to tear the friends apart. Garfunkel wanted to pursue a career in acting alongside his music career, but his filming schedule hindered and ultimately delayed the duo's progress on a new album. When the pair was finally able to carve out time to work on the album, tensions in the studio ran high and Simon and Garfunkel could not even agree on the twelfth song to feature on the album. As a result, Bridge Over Troubled Water was released in January of 1970 with only eleven songs and later in the year, to very little surprise, Simon & Garfunkel announced their split.
Following the breakup of Simon & Garfunkel, Paul Simon didn't waste any time and immediately jumped into writing and recording solo material. Two years after the split he released his first solo album, Paul Simon, which peaked at No. 4 on the American Top 40 and was well received, with critics applauding his use of styles and confessional lyrics. Simon's next two albums, There Goes Rhymn' Simon and Still Crazy After All These Years, continued to be widely successful with Still Crazy After All These Years, earning the singer-songwriter a Grammy Award in 1976 for both Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal.
With three successful albums under his belt, Simon took some off during the second half of the 1970's, and did not release another album until 1980. However, Simon's new album did not produce the same sales numbers as his previous efforts and his fifth solo album Hearts and Bones missed the American Top 40. After fifteen years at the top, Paul Simon now found himself lacking commercial popularity in a music market dominated by disco music.
Disappointed with the performance and reception of Hearts and Bones, Paul Simon felt lost and lacking in inspiration until he stumbled upon a new sound while listening to a recording of a Boyoyo Boys instrumental. That one recording sparked an idea for Simon, an idea of mixing musical styles from all over the world. Feeling like he had nothing to lose, Simon relocated to South Africa to immerse himself in local culture and record music for what would later become Graceland.
As an album, Graceland was an eclectic mix of pop, a cappella, isicathamiya, rock, and mbaqanga, and Simon's new label Warner Bros. Records had doubts about releasing it. However, all the doubts were silenced when Graceland was released in August of 1968 to the applause of critics and the general public alike, and the album became Simon's most successful solo work. In 1987, Graceland earned Paul Simon Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Record of the Year for the title track.
In the years following Graceland, Simon was once again back at the forefront of popular music. Although his popularity dropped in the mid to late 90's, and his last album of the millennium flopped, Simon managed to enter the new millennium with his hard-earned respected reputation and considerable fan base intact. Paul Simon has reunited with Art Garfunkel a number of times for various causes and purposes since their split, but for the most part Paul Simon continues on as a solo act. In recognition of his music legacy, Simon was announced as the first recipient of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007. His most recent album, 2011's bluegrass-influenced So Beautiful or So What is heralded by Simon to be "the best work [he's] done in 20 years."