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Simon & Garfunkel – Bookends (1968) & Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

October 4, 2013

[Albums 244 & 245/1001]Bookends

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!Bridge_Over_Troubled_Water

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.


From → 1960s, 1970s

  1. I haven’t reviewed any S&G yet but I will. Songs like “I Am A Rock”, “The Boxer”, “Hello Darkness”, etc are all just such great songs. I got tuned onto S&G via movie soundtracks actually.

    • I am a rock wasn’t on either of these but I think that’s my favourite in the catalogue! As my project goes along I’m realizing that while production values & performances are important, I’m really starting to put a premium on songwriting – great songs are timeless.

      • Absolutely they are. I do not own any S&G studio albums, just a good comprehensive hits set that I simply love.

      • One of the S&G greatest hits was my gateway – no misses in the set whatsoever!

  2. Yes, I like S&G, but can’t get into Simon’s solo stuff. Bookends has “A Hazy Shade of Winter”. Not a typical S&G song, but a good one.

    The reunion concerts at Central Park and (IIRC) Stockholm, both available on DVD, are also good.

    Would Simon have continued to write good songs if Garfunkel had still been with him? Who knows.

    • It’s hard to measure but I really do think there’s a synergy you get with a group that you don’t as a solo artist.

      I’m thinking of John/Paul/George/Ringo (Also broke up in 1970) – sure each has had some good solo moments but for the most part, nowhere close to the magic they created as The Beatles.

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