It’s looking more and more as though Simon & Garfunkel’s fans have seen the last of classic duo. Garfunkel has just published What Is It All But Luminous – Notes From An Underground Man, his long-awaited autobiography, which sheds new and important light on his relationship with Paul Simon and the evolution of Simon & Garfunkel’s sound and rise to fame.
According to Garfunkel, the pair — who last performed together in 2009 — might be done for good, with Garfunkel explaining to The Dallas Morning News, “It’s like a marriage. You all know how these things work. It waxes and wanes. . . and every spring is followed by summer, which is followed by cooler weather. . . Simon & Garfunkel had some really great years. Where we get along beautifully and laugh our asses off. And then we get tired of each other. How interesting is that? And we need a rest. How interesting is that? And then, we take a rest. And sometimes, it’s years.”
He went on to talk about the state of the childhood friend’s relationship in 2017: “Right now is one of the coolest — no, I would say coldest — periods in this long friendship. There’s a real sense of, I may not hear from him again. And I don’t know if I care.”
During a recent interview with Forbes, Garfunkel was asked if there was ever a time that Simon & Garfunkel were specifically at loggerheads over music, to which he recalled, “‘Cuba Si, Nixon No,’ was meant to be the 12th song on our Bridge Over Troubled Water album. I said to Paul, ‘I think the politics are too blatant. Cuba Si, Nixon No, is too simplistic a way of thinking and I won’t sign on to it.’ My sense of politics is more sophisticated. Paul said, ‘You don’t get it, Art, that is the voice of the saboteur.’ ‘Yes, but Paul the title comes out without an explanation.’ He wasn’t happy not to do the song, but he had to respect me. Then is when we said the album will have one fewer song, and there you go.”
Art Garfunkel has always reminded fans that although Paul Simon wrote the duo’s songs — Garfunkel co-produced the music with him. He chose the duo’s 1970 swan song Bridge Over Troubled Water as the ultimate example of the kind of production he spearheaded: “I was always first and foremost a record maker. Paul Simon is a song writer. In terms of making records, the elements that made it so different from cut-to-cut is, to me, what is so nice about it. And it remains a success in that sense — when you get to the fourth song, and there’s kind a of a Las Vegas shuffle and a lot of brass and sock to it — ‘Keep The Customer Satisfied.’ You think, ‘Well, how different that is from ‘El Condor Pasa,’ which has an ethnic feel. So, the game is variety. Keep coming up with a new tune that comes out of left field compared to the last tune.”
Photo Courtesy of Sony/Legacy