Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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Before They Were Famous

Not a lot of people know that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel first recorded together in the 1950s, ten years before The Sound of Silence became a US #1. This means that Paul's singer/songwriter career spans six decades - how many artists can say that?

Copying their harmonising heroes the Everly Brothers (Wake Up, Little Susie; Walk Right Back; Cathy's Clown), the school chums pressed a demo and hawked their wares around local record companies. After a whole lot of hawking their talent was spotted and their first single unleashed on the world.

Hey Schoolgirl (paedo-hunters, it's OK; he was 15 when he wrote it) captured the public's heart with its lyrics about the difficulty of dating when you've got homework to do, its invitation to 'bug out of here real fast' and its catchy chorus of 'Woo-bop-a-loo-chi-bop' and sold 100,000 copies.

Unfortunately all their subsequent singles flopped mightily. Paul and Art had their first Big Row (the second would occur during the making of Bridge Over Troubled Water, the third after their 1981 reunion concert in Central Park). So the band broke up, and it looked like they would never play again. Until 1963, when they met up on the New York acoustic circuit and formed the greatest folk-rock duo of all time (IMHO).

Only hardcore fans know about these 50s tracks, not because they're not good - they may not be Bridge Over Troubled Water but they're easily We've Got A Groovey Thing Goin' - but because they weren't recorded under the name Simon & Garfunkel. Paul and Artie put their surnames together, looked at them, and decided they could never, ever record under their real names. 'Simon and Garfunkel'? Preposterous! It sounded like a Jewish comedy double-act. (Their words, not mine.)

So they called themselves 'Tom and Jerry' instead.

[You can enjoy Hey Schoolgirl, Beat Love, The Lone Teen Ranger and 16 other great tracks on Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel - Tom & Jerry, released by Superior as SU 29024.]

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