This Day In Music History: 1941 – Art Garfunkel is Born
Arthur Ira “Art” Garfunkel (born November 5, 1941) is an American singer, poet and actor. He partnered in his earlier years with Paul Simon in the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.
Highlights of his solo music career include a top 10 hit, three top 20 hits, six top 40 hits, 14 Adult Contemporary top 30 singles, five Adult Contemporary number ones, two UK number ones and a People’s Choice Award. Through his solo and collaborative work, Garfunkel has earned six Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1990, he and former musical partner Paul Simon were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Garfunkel’s love for singing originated in the first grade, “when we were lined up in size order, and after everyone else had left, I’d stay behind and enjoy the echo sound of the stairwell tiles and sing ‘Unchained Melody’ and ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, learning to love this goose-bumps song from the tender age of five.” Later, Garfunkel’s father bought him a wire recorder and from then on, Garfunkel spent his afternoons singing, recording, and playing it back, so he could listen for flaws and learn how to improve. At his Bar Mitzvah in 1954, Garfunkel sang as a cantor and performed over four hours of his repertoire to his family. He met his future singing partner Paul Simon in the sixth grade at PS 164, when they were both cast in the elementary school graduation play, Alice in Wonderland. It has been said by Garfunkel that Simon first became interested in singing after hearing Garfunkel sing a rendition of Nat King Cole’s “Too Young” in a school talent show.
After graduating from Forest Hills High School alongside Simon, Garfunkel studied at Columbia College, Columbia University in Manhattan in the early 1960s. He was also a member of the all-male a cappella group on campus, the Columbia Kingsmen. In 1963, Garfunkel and Simon reformed their duo under their own names as “Simon and Garfunkel”. They released their first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. on Columbia Records in October 1964. It was not a critical success at first. The next year, producer Tom Wilson lifted the song “The Sound of Silence” from the record, dubbed an electric backing onto it, and released it as a single that went to number one on the Billboard pop charts.
The duo went on to become one of the most popular acts of the 1960s. Together they recorded four more influential albums, Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Bookends; and the hugely successful Bridge over Troubled Water. Simon & Garfunkel also contributed extensively to the soundtrack of the 1967 Mike Nichols film The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft).