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iOldies Music Store Home > Artist Biographies > Paul Simon

Paul Simon

Here is Rhymin' Paul Simon

Picture of Here is Rhymin' Paul Simon


Paul Simon is one of music’s most talented singer/songwriters.                                                                       

Time Magazine (2006) name Paul Simon in the list of 'The 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming our world’.

Paul Simon is famous for a catalogue of albums and songs including; The Sound of SilenceMrs. RobinsonBridge Over Troubled Water50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and You Can Call Me Al.

With over 50 years in the music business, Paul Simon is one-half of folk duo Simon & Garfunkel. After they split in the 70s, Paul Simon went on to a successful solo career, proving he is no One-Trick Pony.







Early Years - Tom & Jerry




Paul Simon’s music career began aged 11 when met a young Art Garfunkel at Forest Hills High School.

Years later they formed the group Tom & Jerry, who would then become Simon & Garfunkel

The boys looked up to The Everly Brothers and listen to jazz, folk and blues, especially Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly.

In 1957, Simon & Garfunkel as Tom & Jerry had a top 50 song Hey, Schoolgirl, they were both 16. Other singles released by Tom and Jerry included Our Song and That’s My Story.

From the age of 16 the boy from New Jersey was an active songwriter, writing a number of tunes for Tom & Jerry, Simon & Garfunkel and himself under different names such as Jerry Landis, Paul Kane, True Taylour and of course Paul Simon.




"Between the ages of 15 and 22, I had made only one very minor hit, so I expected everything to be a flop. I was utterly amazed that The Sound of Silence was a big hit".
                                                                                                                        Paul Simon, interviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine (1972)





Simon & Garfunkel





Aside from writing and performing with Art Garfunkel, Simon also enjoyed success recording with the group Tico & The Triumphs.

The band had a number of singles which didn’t make it into the charts such as Congratulations, Express Train, She'll Be the One Who's Crying; however Motorcycle by Tico & The Triumphs reached number 99 on the US Billboard Chart in 1961.

In 1962 Paul Simon would had his first solo success on the US Billboard Chart recording under the name Jerry Landis. The single, The Lone Teen Ranger and B-side Lisa was Simon’s first solo single to chart at number 97.

A year before Simon traveled England, Simon & Garfunkel signed to Columbia Records, who replaced there previous stage name of Tom & Jerry

In 1964 Simon & Garfunkel released there first LP Wednesday Morning, 3am. The 12 track album featured five songs written by Simon.


At first, the album was a flop in record shops across America, partly because The Beatles had landed pumping out their rock n roll meets Mersey beat sound.

As a result Art went back to his studies at Columbia University in New York and Paul traveled England playing gigs and writing more music.

Although the album went under the radar, one track off the album Sounds of Silence was slowly being requested on radio shows all over the country. Sounds of Silence reached number 1 on the US billboard chart and Wednesday Morning, 3am managed to peak as a high number 30 on the album chart.




On its original release Wednesday Morning, 3am  was considered an unsuccessful first album from Simon & Garfunkel. Paul spent some time in England where he wrote and recorded songs such as I Am A Rock and Kathy’s song a tribute to his girlfriend at the time Kathy Chitty. These tracks would feature on Paul Simon’s first solo LP Paul Simon Songbook.


While in the UK Simon also co-wrote I Wish You Could Be Here, Cloudy and Red Rubber Ball with Bruce Woodley of Australian pop group The Seekers.

Word was quickly growing around Simon & Garfunkel’s contemporary folk sound. After Simon returned to the US he started to work with this old school friend Art to create influential albums such as Sound of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Bookends and the famous Bridge Over Troubled Water, which sold over 25 million copies worldwide.


The duo also recorded the soundtrack to the 1967 Mike Nicholas film The Graduate. Simon wrote the track Mrs Robinson which was a success with cinemagoers and music fans.

Simon & Garfunkel split in 1970 with the global hit album Bridge Over Troubled Water being their fifth and final studio release. Simon focused on this solo career and two years later he released his self-titled album Paul Simon.




Solo Simon





The album Paul Simon was his first experiment with world music, giving hits Mother and Child Reunion and Me & Julio Down By The Schoolyard a reggae feel.

Simon's second solo album in 1973 There Goes Rhymin’ Paul Simon is considered a pop-folk masterpiece, which produced the songs Kodachrome, Loves Me Like a Rock and Something So Right a tribute to Simon’s first wife Peggy Harper. 

The 3rd album in 5years was written in the wake of Simon and Harper's divorce. The much-awaited album Still Crazy After All These Years was released in October 1975. The number one LP won The Grammy Award for Album of the year in 1976. Still Crazy After All these Years features tracks Gone at Last, 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover and the Simon & Garfunkel reunion song My Little Town.



             "All lies and jests, still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."
                                                                                                                                                                     Paul Simon, The Boxer


Towards the late 70s Simon released chart topping Greatest Hits
, Etc... album and had a Billboard hit single with Slip Slidin’ Away

In 1980 Simon released the album One Trick Pony
, which was also a movie he wrote and starred in. Although the album was not a runaway success it produced the top ten song Late In The Evening

Paul Simon  was also open to the influences of different cultures and their sounds. On a trip to Africa in the early 80s he wrote the legendry Graceland album.

Graceland was a worldwide success making it Simon’s best selling LP.  Top selling singles were released including The Boy in the Bubble and Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes; however, none would top the achievements made by You Can Call Me Al

Following the successful of Grammy Award-Winning album and Record of the year Graceland, Simon explored more world music creating an album which was influenced by Brazilian music Rhythm of Saints.


Although the album did not match the mainstream success of Graceland it was still an album praised by critics being nominated for album of the year in 1990.

With all Paul Simon’s success in popular music, he would not be able to reach the same highs writing musicals. His musical The Capeman was a flop at the box office, reported to have lost $11 million.





Awards & Legacy






Simon won 12 Grammy Awards (one of them a Lifetime Achievement Award) and had five Grammy nominations, the most recent for his album You're the One in 2001


Paul Simon is still touring and writing music to this day, Simon will be playing the Pyramid Stage at the legendary Glastonbury music festival in England (June 2011) .



                                                     "Improvisation is too good to leave to chance".
                                                                                                                                               Paul Simon




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