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Summary Article: Simon, Paul
From Chambers Biographical Dictionary


♦ US singer, songwriter and guitarist

He was born in Newark, New Jersey. One of the USA's finest pop lyricists, he had the most successful album of the early 1970s, as one half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel, with Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970). Simon originally worked with Art Garfunkel (1941- ) at the age of 15 (when they were known as Tom and Gerry), but he also pursued a solo career under various pseudonyms, before "The Sound Of Silence" (1965) brought the duo their first major success. In 1968, Simon's songs were used in the soundtrack of the film The Graduate, one of the first major films to incorporate rock music in this way. After separating from Garfunkel (1971), Simon returned to a solo career, taking songwriting classes in New York prior to releasing his album Paul Simon in 1972. Regular albums followed, the most successful of which were There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973) and Graceland (1986), which featured the work of several South African musicians, and generated considerable controversy as well as large sales. A similar attempt to incorporate South American music in The Rhythm of the Saints (1990) was less well received. His successful comeback album Surprise (2006), which was only his tenth solo release, confirmed his lyrical maturity and continuing interest in broadening songwriting's geographical horizons. Simon and Garfunkel were awarded a Grammy for lifetime achievement in 2003, which led to the duo's first US tour in 20 years; they toured together again in 2009.

  • Humphries, Patrick, The Boy in the Bubble: A Biography of Paul Simon (1990).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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