Entertainment » Vol. 29

Art Garfunkel’s The Singer Chronicles The Life of One of the Greatest Male Singers of the Past Five

art-garfunkel-copyBy Tim Branch

“What is the singing voice to me? A name, a skill, or a flag I see? A certain thrill ~ the gift of glide, the ride on the cusp of emotion, uplift from the heart to the cords, love for the song, for the sound.” ~ Art Garfunkel

Pulling together one man’s remarkable career in music, The Singer is a 34-song collection of songs hand-picked by the artist himself. Spanning a life’s body of work from the first Simon & Garfunkel album of 1964 (Wednesday Morning, 3 AM) through 2007’s Great American Songbook album (Some Enchanted Evening) and continuing with two newly recorded performances for this release (“Lena” and “Long Way Home”), this two-CD retrospective will be available at all physical and digital retail outlets starting August 28th through Columbia/Legacy, a division of Sony Music Entertainment.

The voice and soul of a true American poet have illuminated the work of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Art Garfunkel for nearly five decades. It is there on record ~ the Simon & Garfunkel LPs of 1964 to 1970 on Columbia, and Garfunkel’s deep catalog as a solo artist starting in 1973 (the first six albums also on Columbia) ~ as well as on film and the printed page (his 1987 collection of prose poetry, Still Water). Five-time Grammy® Award-winner Art Garfunkel has always approached every new project with the poet’s perspective.

As Garfunkel explained the essence of his Simon & Garfunkel artistry to Esquire, “We didn’t push for exaggerating one’s contribution…There are songs where I am a shadow. As the record emerged, you go, that’s what it is. Those are the two personalities. And the sound is lovely as long as the composite works. But as a solo, starting in the ’70s, I became a tenor/baritone, more expressive leading man of a singer. I owned the interpretation.”

In addition to curating The Singer, Garfunkel provides his own personal track-by-track annotations which appear in the booklet in his handwritten form. The notes are as unique as Garfunkel himself.

The weaving of songs from the Simon & Garfunkel repertoire with songs from Art Garfunkel’s repertoire as a solo artist is one of the hallmarks of The Singer, as the collection takes on a timeless air, moving back and forth through time in a seamless pattern. The theme stays true throughout, though ~ this singer can sing!

From 4 of the original S&G studio albums (and all-time best-selling Greatest Hits, 14-times RIAA platinum, the largest selling album of all time by a duo):

(1964) – “The Sound Of Silence” Wednesday Morning, 3 AM

(1966) – “April Come She Will” Sounds Of Silence

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) ~ “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”

Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970) ~ “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright”

Greatest Hits (1972) ~ “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”

From the Simon & Garfunkel live concert album:

(2004) ~ “Kathy’s Song” Old Friends: Live On Stage

From 10 of Art Garfunkel’s solo albums:

(1973) ~ “Barbara Allen” Angel Clare

Breakaway (1975) ~ “Breakaway,” “I Only Have Eyes For You,” “99 Miles From L.A.,” “My Little Town,” “Disney Girls,” “Waters Of March”

Watermark (1978) ~ “(What A) Wonderful World”

Fate For Breakfast (UK, 1979) ~”Bright Eyes” (from Watership Down)

Scissors Cut (1981) ~ “Scissors Cut,” “A Heart In New York,” “In Cars”

The Animals’ Christmas (with Amy Grant, 1986) ~ “The Decree”

Lefty (1988) ~ “The Promise,” “I Wonder Why,” “When A Man Loves A Woman”

up ’til now (1993) ~ “All I Know,” “Crying in the Rain,” “Two Sleepy People,” “Skywriter”

everything waits to be noticed (2002) ~ “Perfect Moment,” “The Thread”

Some Enchanted Evening (2007) ~ “Some Enchanted Evening,” “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face”

Garfunkel’s work with Simon earned seven Grammy® Awards, starting off at the 1969 ceremony with two for “Mrs. Robinson” (from the movie The Graduate): Record of the Year and Best Contemporary Pop Performance/ Duo or Group. Two years later, Bridge Over Troubled Water was voted Album of the Year, and the title song swept Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Contemporary Song, Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalists, and Best Engineered Recording. In 1977, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” received England’s prestigious Britannia Award as the Best International Pop LP and Single of the previous 25 years. Garfunkel added another Grammy® Award nomination for Best Children’s Album in 1998 for his album Songs From A Parent To A Child.

Garfunkel has also maintained a steady presence on the silver screen. After working with director Mike Nichols on The Graduate soundtrack, Garfunkel followed up with feature roles in Nichols’ Catch-22 (1969) and Carnal Knowledge (1971, for which he received a Golden Globe nomination as Best Supporting Actor) opposite Ann-Margret, Candice Bergen, and Jack Nicholson. Garfunkel went on to garner acclaim for roles in Nicholas Roeg’s award-winning Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession with Theresa Russell and Harvey Keitel (1980), Good To Go (1986), the controversial Jennifer Lynch film Boxing Helena (1993), and ~most recently in 2010 ~ The Rebound with Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The life and times of Art Garfunkel course throughout The Singer and are especially vibrant when felt in the reverence for songs that make up the American pop vernacular. Two of Garfunkel’s signature performances hit #1 on the Billboard Adult Contemporary (AC) chart: “I Only Have Eyes For You” (a 1930s tune that became a hit for the Flamingos in 1959 and was revisited by Garfunkel on 1975’s Breakaway LP, the song also hit #1 in the UK), and Sam Cooke’s “(What A) Wonderful World” (from 1978’s Watermark), in which Garfunkel was famously joined by Simon and James Taylor.

Garfunkel’s roster of #1 AC hits also includes “All I Know” (his debut single as a solo artist in 1973, a Jimmy Webb composition), the 1975 reunion duet with Simon on “My Little Town” (premiered on the second show of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”), and “Breakaway” (written by England’s Gallagher & Lyle, one of the three consecutive #1 AC hits from the Breakaway LP.

In addition to all the aforementioned, The Singer contains many more examples of Garfunkel’s special touch on pop tunes from our collective past: “Barbara Allen” (the folk ballad popularized by Joan Baez), “Disney Girls” (from the Beach Boys’ Surf’s Up), “I Wonder Why”(via Dion & the Belmonts), “When A Man Loves A Woman” (Percy Sledge), “Crying in the Rain” (a duet with James Taylor, via the Everly Brothers, an early Carole King-Howie Greenfield composition), and “Two Sleepy People,” the 1930s Hoagy Carmichael-Frank Loesser chestnut that captivated a new generation in 1955 when it was sung by James Dean and Natalie Wood in Rebel Without A Cause.

Finally, The Singer continues to underscore Garfunkel’s nearly lifelong association with the music of composer Jimmy Webb. After recording 1978’s Watermark with the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, which contained 10 Webb compositions, Garfunkel said in his understated manner, “I like the idea of inviting people to consider this man… Jimmy Webb.” The Singer contains some rarely anthologized Webb tunes recorded over the years by his friend, including “Scissors Cut” and “In Cars.” “Never mind the transience of show business and popularity,” Garfunkel told Esquire. “When we hear Ray Charles, we go, ‘That’s a great singer.’ We don’t need a writer to tell us. Good is good and it shines through the years.”

ART GARFUNKEL: THE SINGER (Columbia/Legacy 88725 45816 2)

CD One:

1. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)
2. “All I Know” with Jimmy Webb (up ’til now, 1993)
3. “Perfect Moment” with Buddy Mondlock & Maia Sharp (everything waits to be noticed, 2002)
4. “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” (Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, 1972)
5. “Crying in the Rain” with James Taylor (up ’til now, 1993)
6. “I Only Have Eyes For You” with Nicky Hopkins (piano) (Breakaway, 1975)
7. “99 Miles From L.A.” (Breakaway, 1975)
8. “(What A) Wonderful World” with James Taylor and Paul Simon (Watermark, 1978)
9. “Bright Eyes” (Fate For Breakfast, 1979)
10. “Two Sleepy People,” arranged by Dick Hyman (up ’til now, 1993)
11. “Skywriter” with Nicky Hopkins (piano) (up’til now, 1993)
12. “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” (Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, 1966)
13. “Some Enchanted Evening” (Some Enchanted Evening, 2007)
14. “The Promise” produced by Steve Gadd (drums) and Geoff Emerick (Lefty, 1988) 15. “The Thread” with Maia Sharp and Buddy Mondlock” (everything waits to be noticed, 2002)
16. “Lena” featuring Dean Parks (guitar) ~ Previously unreleased
17. “Barbara Allen” (Angel Clare, 1973)

CD Two:
1. “Kathy’s Song” (Simon & Garfunkel – Old Friends: Live On Stage, 2004)
2. “Long Way Home” with Maia Sharp – Previously unreleased
3. “Scissors Cut” with Leah Kunkel (Scissors Cut, 1981)
4. “The Sound Of Silence” (Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, 1964)
5. “Breakaway” with Graham Nash and David Crosby (Breakaway, 1975)
6. “So Long Frank Lloyd Wright” (Bridge Over Troubled Water, 1970)
7. “Waters Of March” with Billy Payne (keyboards) (Breakaway, 1975)
8. “The Decree” (The Animals’ Christmas, 1986)
9. “I Wonder Why” with Kenny Rankin (Lefty, 1988)
10. “Disney Girls” with Bruce Johnston (piano) and Toni Tenille (Breakaway, 1975)
11. “My Little Town” (Breakaway, 1975)
12. “O Come All Ye Faithful” with Eric Weissberg (Acoustic Christmas, 1990)
13. “A Heart In New York” with Michael Brecker (tenor sax) (Scissors Cut, 1981)
14. “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Her Face” (Some Enchanted Evening, 2007)
15. “April Come She Will” (Sounds Of Silence, 1965)
16. “When A Man Loves A Woman” with Jeremy Steig (flute) and Michael Brecker (tenor sax) (Lefty, 1988)
17. “In Cars” (Scissors Cut, 1981)


Simon & Garfunkel:
Wednesday Morning, 3 AM (1964)
Sounds Of Silence
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits

Old Friends: Live On Stage

Art Garfunkel:
Angel Clare
Fate For Breakfast
Scissors Cut
The Animals’ Christmas
(with Amy Grant, 1986)
up ’til now (1993)
everything waits to be noticed
Some Enchanted Evening

Acoustic Christmas (1990)


Art Garfunkel Will Be Performing In Boston on Thursday, September 20 at The Wilbur Theater in Support of The Singer.

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