Who are Simon and Garfunkel? One guitar, one fro, two voices. They’re tossed around in reviews as “inspirations” for bands like Turin Brakes and Kings of Convenience. Sure, like Kings (and many others), they’re a mostly mellow duo known for intertwining vocal harmonies, ballads, and acoustic-poetic melodies. But to reduce them to an oldies-comparison for newcomers is a shame.
Sure, their music hearkens to an earlier time — to movies like The Graduate, when Dustin Hoffman was much younger and just as short — and some of their peace ballads are definitely dated to the Vietnam era. But either for basic cultural knowledge or just to enjoy plain good music (and seriously excellent lyrics), familiarize yourself with these guys.
Their big hitters — “Sound of Silence,” “Homeward Bound,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” — are famous for a reason. But a few lesser-known gems are worth a listen, especially if bands today are still emulating their sound.
“The Only Living Boy in New York”: Okay, hipsters will recognize this as the song that plays in Garden State when the main trio, dressed in trashbags to combat the pouring rain, are yelling into the abyss from atop a bulldozer. But when Art G-funkalicious croons, “I can gather all the news I need from the weather report / Hey, I’ve got nothing to do today but smile,” you just want to forget all your trivial worries and gather daisies for a while.
“Cecilia”: Just so that you can know what How I Met Your Mother is talking about when Marshall shows this graph.
“Bleecker Street”: Probably closest to the style you’d hear imitated today. Sweet, delicate, and worthwhile. “I saw a shadow / Touch a shadow’s hand / On Bleecker Street.”
“Mrs. Robinson”: Come on, it’s about a promiscuous MILF. Even Weezer covered it.
Simon and Garfunkel – The Only Living Boy in New York (download)
Simon and Garfunkel – Cecilia (download)
Simon and Garfunkel – Bleecker Street (download)
Simon and Garfunkel – Mrs. Robinson (download)