Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends (1968) & Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)
If CCR had a knack for writing singalongs, Paul Simon is the Maestro.
Universal gems like Cecilia, the latter album’s title track, and my personal favourite, The Boxer, are merely a taste of the terrific tunes he’s crafted over the last half century.
When comparing Raffi & Johnny Cash, I marveled at their ability to transcend generations. Simon & Garfunkel can be safely welcomed into their exclusive club. The songs work at schools, seniors’ residences and everywhere in between. When I become a member of the retirement home audience a few decades from now, hearing Bridge Over Troubled Water in a performer’s set list would not be remotely surprising.
Though perhaps the odd lyric modification is sometimes appropriate. Full credit to my friends (parents of a cute Cecilia) for the revision, “making lunch in the afternoon with Cecilia” while their daughter’s age remains in the single digits.
Of course, How I Met Your Mother’s Cecilia reference made exemplary use of a Venn Diagram:
It’s hard to believe the majority of Bookends‘ side two is comprised of songs rejected by the producers of The Graduate. It reminds me of Bowie’s side two of Low : rejected by the film for which it was intended, it went on to be one of the more memorable side twos of its decade!
It’s a shame Bridge marked the end of their studio career as in 1970, this was a duo few would accuse of being past its musical ‘best before’ date. After the first listen or so I preferred Bridge but after going back to each record many times (always a good sign!), I’d say Bridge has the better standouts and Bookends is the superior album overall.
In a way, that’s splitting hairs as neither is likely to offend and each contains more than a handful of evergreen tracks.