Art Garfunkel
* November 05, 1941
United States
Solo Artist
Although it has been 30 years since Bridge Over Troubled Water was recorded, Art Garfunkel's image and signature vocal remain among the most instantly recognizable in popular music. His "beautiful countertenor," as Neil Strauss described Art's voice in The New York Times, is clear and resonant, surely one of the finest instruments in all of popular music, and a time-honored friend to a world of listeners.

The dialogue began for Art at age four, when his father brought home one of the first wire recorders. "That got me into music more than anything else," he recalls, "singing and being able to record it." Seven years later he was singing Everly Brothers songs at school talent shows with a partner, Paul Simon, from his Forest Hills neighborhood in Queens, New York. "Then rhythm 'n blues, rock 'n roll came along." He and Paul set their sights on the Brill Building. "We practiced in the basement so much that we got professional sounding. We made demos in Manhattan and knocked on all the doors of the record companies with our hearts in our throats." In 1957, 'Tom and Jerry' (as they were called then) landed a recording contract. Their first 45, "Hey, Schoolgirl" (which they wrote together) scored a moderate hit and they appeared on "American Bandstand" as high school seniors. "We got a quick education in the record business," Art recounts.

"But I left and went to college. I was the kid who was going to find some way to make a 'decent' living." He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Columbia College, majoring in Art History; later he earned his Masters degree in Mathematics at Columbia University. But he never stopped singing, and even recorded several solo singles (as 'Artie Garr') while in school. When he met up again with Simon in 1962 and they began to rehearse, the decision was clear to get back together as a duo.

They started performing as Simon & Garfunkel at the height of the folk music boom in late-1963, and within a year were signed to Columbia Records, who paired them with producer/engineer Roy Halee. Simon & Garfunkel maintained a tireless pace in the recording studio and on the road, reaching a wide and loyal international audience. From 1964 to 1970 they recorded a groundbreaking string of classic LPs (Wednesday Morning 3 A.M., Sounds Of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, The Graduate, Bookends, and Bridge Over Troubled Water) and an equally impressive body of songs, many of which became pop standards, among them; "The Sound Of Silence," "Homeward Bound," "I Am a Rock," "Kathy's Song," "April Come She Will," "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her," "At the Zoo," "A Hazy Shade of Winter," "America," "Scarborough Fair/Canticle," "Mrs. Robinson," "The Boxer," "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "Cecilia," "El Condor Pasa," and "My Little Town."

Simon & Garfunkel won five Grammy awards together, two in 1968 (Record of the Year and Best Contemporary Pop Performance/ Duo or Group for "Mrs. Robinson"); and three in 1970 (Record of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists for "Bridge Over Troubled Water," which also won Song of the Year and Best Engineered Recording). In 1977, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" received the prestigious Britannia Award for "Best International Pop LP and Single, 1952-77," as voted by the music industry of Great Britain.

"They were fabulous years," Art remembers warmly. "I'll always be happy to say a little on behalf of the duo. I'm proud of singing those great songs. Now they teach Paul Simon songs in churches and schools as part of the curricula...it seems that part of good citizenship is the knowledge of the songs we did. How can I grasp that?"

Meanwhile, having already worked with director Mike Nichols on The Graduate soundtrack, Garfunkel went on to feature acting roles in Mike Nichols' movies Catch-22 (1969); and Carnal Knowledge (1971), opposite Ann-Margret, Candice Bergen and Jack Nicholson.

1973: Angel Clare (US #5), Garfunkel's long-awaited first solo album, produced by Garfunkel and Roy Halee, includes the top 10 hit, "All I Know" written by Jimmy Webb. From the album, Van Morrison's "I Shall Sing," and Paul Williams' "Traveling Boy," are also released as singles. This establishes a pattern for Art, who unerringly chooses the finest compositions by the best songwriters for his future albums.

1974: Tim Moore's "Second Avenue" is released as a single receiving significant airplay.

1975: Breakaway (US #9), produced by Richard Perry and Art Garfunkel, features the hits "I Only Have Eyes For You" (reaching #1 in the UK), "My Little Town" (a reunion with Paul Simon), and the Gallagher & Lyle title tune. The album attained Platinum certification.

1978: Watermark (US #19) finds Garfunkel traveling to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to work with the legendary session band led by keyboardist Barry Beckett, with whom he co-produces the album. Included are ten compositions by Jimmy Webb (highlighted by "Crying In My Sleep"), and Sam Cooke's timeless "(What A) Wonderful World" (US #17) produced in New York by Phil Ramone, with vocals by Garfunkel, Paul Simon, and James Taylor. Inspired by the recording experience, Art embarks on a 40-city U.S. tour, his first performances since the Simon & Garfunkel farewell concerts of 1970. The tour is punctuated by an evening hosting NBC-TV's "Saturday Night Live."

1979: Fate For Breakfast (UK #2), produced by Louis Shelton, features a new version of the Skyliners' "Since I Don't Have You," a popular single through that summer. Garfunkel co-stars alongside Theresa Russell and Harvey Keitel in director Nicholas Roeg's Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession; and enjoys a #1 single in the U.K. with Mike Batt's "Bright Eyes," a British million-seller (top-selling single in the UK in 1979) from the CBS soundtrack album of the animated feature film Watership Down.

1981: Scissors Cut, a reunion with producer Roy Halee, includes "A Heart in New York" (by Gallagher & Lyle), Jules Shear's "So Easy to Begin," and three Jimmy Webb compositions, including "That's All I've Got to Say" from The Last Unicorn, an animated film. Complementing this track is "Bright Eyes" (from the animated Watership Down), which has finally made it onto a US Garfunkel LP.

September 19, 1981: A month after the release of Scissors Cut, Simon & Garfunkel reunite for one of the largest free open-air concerts in New York history; 500,000 fans crowd into Central Park, while millions more view it later on HBO. Simon & Garfunkel, The Concert In Central Park, the resulting double-LP, is an immediate million seller. Overwhelming response to both the concert and album result in an international tour which continues through the summer of '83.

1983-86: Art Garfunkel's next project, The Animals' Christmas, a cantata composed by Jimmy Webb, is staged over Christmas '83 at the London Royal Festival Hall, then a year later in New York at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine (the largest cathedral in the world). That same month, initial recording of the Columbia album begins, featuring Art Garfunkel and Amy Grant. Sessions with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Kings College School Choir continue through all of 1985, in New York, Nashville, England, and Montserrat, West Indies. More than three years in the making, The Animals' Christmas (released in 1986) takes its place alongside the great Yuletide recordings. In 1985, Garfunkel spent several months working on Blaine Novak's film, Good to Go. The film, starring Art Garfunkel, was released in 1986.

1987: Work on the next album, Lefty, produced by Geoff Emerick (the Beatles' recording engineer), Art Garfunkel and Jay Graydon, is interrupted by a European tour in the fall. Working with a band organized by the late keyboardist Nicky Hopkins, the highlight of the tour takes place December 4th at the London Palladium, as Art joins Elton John, Phil Collins, Robin Williams, James Taylor, and the Royal Family for the prestigious annual Prince's Trust Concert. Issued three months later, Lefty includes a startling remake of Percy Sledge's "When a Man Loves a Woman" and a duet with Kenny Rankin on "I Wonder Why."

In the mid-1980's, Art Garfunkel's obsession with long-distance walking began to come into focus, starting with a three and a half-week hike across the rice paddies and back roads of Japan in 1982. By 1984, his walk across America was a major part of his annual schedule. Concurrently, "I became a writer for the first time in my life," he says, "not a songwriter, but a literary guy." A collection of his prose poetry, Still Water, was published by Dutton in 1989. A solo concert tour of England followed, with a subsequent tour of Germany and Holland in 1991.

1990-93: In 1990, at the request of the US State Department, Garfunkel performed before 1.4 million people at an outdoor rally to support and promote democracy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Earlier that year, Simon & Garfunkel are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and reunite again briefly in 1992 for a special charity event on Broadway with Mike Nichols and Elaine May. Also that year, Garfunkel records "Two Sleepy People" for the soundtrack of A League of Their Own, the Penny Marshall film; and the theme song for the television series, "Brooklyn Bridge," with music by Marvin Hamlisch and lyrics by Marilyn and Alan Bergman. 1992 marks Garfunkel's first solo concert tour of Japan, with every date sold-out in advance. By 1993, he is on location in Atlanta, cast in director Jennifer Lynch's controversial film, Boxing Helena. 1993: up 'til now is distinguished by a duet with James Taylor on "Crying In the Rain." Taylor also produced the Tommy Edwards chestnut, "It's All In the Game." Among its four Jimmy Webb compositions is "Skywriter," which Webb wrote as an autobiographical tribute to Art. Also: the rarely-heard original acoustic version of "The Sound Of Silence" from Wednesday Morning 3 AM.; "Since I Don't Have You" (from Fate For Breakfast); and both the theme for "Brooklyn Bridge" as well as "Two Sleepy People" from A League of Their Own. The album's release in October coincides with a series of 21 sold-out reunion shows with Paul Simon at New York's Paramount Theater.

1994: Garfunkel returns to the Far East in November, for dates in Hong Kong, Singapore, Bangkok, Tokyo and other cities. Also that month, he performs for the first time in Oslo, Norway. In April, 1995, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, Alan Parsons organizes a special concert in Arnheim, Netherlands, starring Walter Cronkite, Joe Cocker, Cyndi Lauper and Art Garfunkel -- who sings "Bridge Over Troubled Water" at the conclusion of the event. He is tapped to perform at the 150th anniversary of the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen, in a special concert with several international stars. A new version of the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me" is released as a duet by Art Garfunkel and Julio Iglesias (from his international hit album, Crazy).

1996: The completion of his Walk across America and the staging of the Ellis Island concert mark another personal plateau for Art Garfunkel. One is tempted to ask: What will he do next? There is a moment in Art Garfunkel Across America when he quotes from Sol Linowitz: "Those of us for whom the extraordinary promise of the US has become a reality are obliged to find suitable forms to express their gratitude."

1997: Garfunkel releases Songs From A Parent To A Child, which features inspired renditions of songs by Marvin Gaye, Cat Stevens, Lovin' Spoonful, James Taylor and Lennon/McCartney. It was in fact James who inspired Garfunkel to record the CD--which earned a Grammy nomination--and he joins his father on a version of Elvis Presley's hit "Good Luck Charm." In a review of the CD, the Los Angeles Times said, "Children will respond too, but this tender valentine from Art Garfunkel to his six-year-old son James will especially resonate with any adult for whom parenthood has brought the joy of discovery and untold love."

1998: On November 16th, Garfunkel played the voice of a singing/narrator moose for the highly-acclaimed PBS "Arthur" children's television series. In support of Songs From A Parent To A Child, Garfunkel tours the United States, Canada, Germany, England, Sweden, Scotland, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Czech Republic, Japan and Australia. In May, Garfunkel sets off on his journey to walk across Europe, beginning at Shannon Airport, Ireland.

1999: Marked the re-release of The Animals' Christmas CD. Composed by Jimmy Webb and performed by Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant and The London Symphony Orchestra, this magnificently produced cantata tells the story of the Nativity from the perspective of the animals who were there. "Art Garfunkel has made a surprise international comeback," said BILLBOARD magazine. ACROSS AMERICA has reached "Gold" status in the U.K., and Germany and charts in The Netherlands, France, Spain, Denmark, and others. A Simon & Garfunkel compilation CD--The Best of Simon & Garfunkel--is also released by Sony becoming an international best seller. Having begun his Walk across Europe in 1998 (in Ireland), Art continued in March of 1999 walking half-way across Wales.

2000: Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits album attains Diamond certification (10 million units sold). Garfunkel continues to tour the US (more than 100,000 were in attendance to see his performance on June 24th at the Boise River Festival in Boise, Idaho. An extensive international tour followed in the fall. In between, Garfunkel is busy recording vocals for his next CD. In July, Garfunkel performed at a benefit show at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Duke of York. On October 19th, Garfunkel was the headline performer for a variety of international acts to celebrate the beginning of the peace/reuniting process between North and South Korea. Garfunkel performed three songs and closed out the set and concert with "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Continuing his walk across Europe, Garfunkel treks across England, crosses the English Channel and continues across the Lower Normandy Region of France. Simon and Garfunkel's "Greatest Hits" album was certified Diamond (over 10,000,000 units sold), and became the best-selling album ever by a duo.

2001: Following the tragic events on September 11, 2001, Art Garfunkel performed at several functions, including; an appearance on "Larry King Live" on November 2 in support of the victims survivors from the World Trade Center attack. Garfunkel also appeared at the Old Vic in London on November 18th for the first major multifaith international fundraising event, "Unite For The Future" - which raised money for three causes united by the events of September 11th. The show was sold out. Garfunkel sang "Bridge Over Troubled Water" at the John F. Kennedy Center For The Performing Arts Annual Gala on April 22nd - the Gala annually raises millions of dollars in support of arts education programs across the United States. Garfunkel was invited to perform "Bridge Over Troubled Water" with the National Symphony Orchestra for the National Memorial Day Concert on May 27th on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. The 90-minute program was broadcast live with an audience of 300,000 and an estimated 10 million television viewers. Garfunkel's September/October tour of 19 sold out shows in Japan was the longest tour in that country's history for a western performer.

2002: Joined by Maia Sharp and Buddy Mondlock, Art Garfunkel releases Everything Waits To Be Noticed, a critically acclaimed new CD. Six of the tracks were co-written by Art Garfunkel, including "Perfect Moment," which was featured on the series "Felicity." The single, "Bounce" received significant airplay on Adult Contemporary radio stations. The trio followed up the release with a tour of the United States, Germany, Austria, Ireland and the United Kingdom, continuing into 2003. The Chieftains released a new album which features "Morning Has Broken," recorded by Garfunkel and Diana Krall.

"I feel somewhat different from many people in the extraordinary amount of good fortune that fell into my lap and has made up my life." Art muses. "I rehearsed a lot in my teenage years and really sought after what this country holds, good fortune for those who go after it with hard work. But I do feel as I pass through the country, it's a charmed life. I grew up with a lot of love in my family, so I have the five senses with which to glean the richness of this land as I pass through it."
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