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Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is a Grammy Award-winning musician. Simon is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both as half of the folk-singing duo Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. In 2006, Time magazine called him one of the 100 "people who shape our world." As of 2007, he resides in New Canaan, Connecticut. Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey to Jewish Hungarian parents Belle (died in 2007), an English teacher, and Louis Simon (died in 1995), a college professor, bass player, and dance bandleader who performed under the name "Lee Sims". His family soon moved to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens in New York City. Simon's musical career began in Forest Hills High School when he and his friend Art Garfunkel began singing together as a duo, occasionally performing at school dances. Their idols were the Everly Brothers, whom they often emulated and/or imitated in their early recordings. Simon and Garfunkel were named "Tom & Jerry" by their record company and it was under this name that the duo first had success. In 1957, they recorded the single "Hey, Schoolgirl," on Big Records which reached forty-nine on the pop charts while they were still in their teens. After graduating from high school, Simon attended Queens College, while Garfunkel studied at Columbia University in Manhattan. Simon was a brother in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Though Simon earned a degree in English literature, his real passion was rock and roll. Between 1957 and 1964, Simon wrote, recorded, and released more than thirty songs, occasionally reuniting with Garfunkel as Tom & Jerry for some singles, including "Our Song," "That's My Story," and "Surrender, Please Surrender," among others. He also briefly attended Brooklyn Law School. Most of the songs Simon recorded in the six years after 1957 were performed alone or with musicians other than Garfunkel. They were released on several minor record labels, such as Amy, ABC-Paramount, Big, Hunt, Ember, King, Tribute, and Madison. He used several different pseudonyms for these recordings, including Jerry Landis, Paul Kane (from Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane), and True Taylor. Simon enjoyed some moderate success in recording a few singles as part of a group called Tico and the Triumphs, including a song called "Motorcycle" which reached 99 on the Billboard charts in 1962. Tico and the Triumphs released four "45s." Marty Cooper, a member of the group, sang lead on several of these releases and was actually known as Tico. Bobby Susser, children's songwriter and record producer, and childhood friend of Simon's, co-produced the Tico "45s" with Simon. That same year, Paul reached 97 on the pop charts as Jerry Landis with the hit "The Lone Teen Ranger." Both singles were released on Amy Records.
During this period, Simon met Carole King, with whom he recorded several unreleased demos as a duo called The Cosines to be recorded and released by other groups. In addition, Simon's experience in the studio led him to produce many singles for other acts, including The Vels, Ritchie Cordell, The Fashions, Jay Walker and the Pedestrians, and Dougie and the Dubs. It was also at this time that he became attracted to the New York folk music scene and made his first forays into the folk-rock genre, as is evident in the songs "Carlos Dominguez" and "He Was My Brother" (1963), the latter of which he dedicated to a friend and former classmate, Andrew Goodman who had been murdered while working on the Freedom Summer project in Mississippi in 1964. During the mid-1960s, while living in the UK, Simon co-wrote several songs with Bruce Woodley of the Australian pop group The Seekers. "I Wish You Could Be Here," "Cloudy," and "Red Rubber Ball" were written during this period. However, Woodley's co-authorship credit was incorrectly omitted from "Cloudy" off the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme album. When the American group The Cyrkle recorded a cover of "Red Rubber Ball," the song reached number two in the US. Simon also contributed his original composition to The Seekers catalogue, "Someday One Day," which was released in March 1966.
In early 1964, Simon and Garfunkel got an audition with Columbia Records, whose executives were impressed enough to sign the duo to a contract to produce an album. According to a February 2001 writing from Bud Scoppa, Miles Davis was a member of the Columbia Records staff that offered the duo a record deal. Columbia decided that the two would be called simply "Simon & Garfunkel," which Simon claimed in 2003, was the first time that artists' ethnic names had been used in pop music. Simon and Garfunkel's first LP, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was released on 19 October 1964 and comprised twelve songs in the folk vein, five of them written by Simon. The album initially flopped, but East Coast radio stations began receiving requests for one of the tracks, Simon's "The Sound of Silence." Their producer, Tom Wilson, overdubbed the track with electric guitar, bass, and drums, releasing it as a single that eventually went to number one on the pop charts in the USA. Simon had gone to England after the initial failure of Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., pursuing a solo career (including collaborations with Bruce Woodley of The Seekers) and releasing the album The Paul Simon Song Book in the UK in 1965. But he returned to the USA to reunite with Garfunkel after "The Sound of Silence" had started to enjoy commercial success. Together they recorded several influential albums, including 1966's Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Bookends in 1968 and Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970). Simon and Garfunkel also contributed extensively to the soundtrack of the 1967 Mike Nichols film The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft). While writing Mrs. Robinson, Simon originally toyed with the title Mrs. Roosevelt. When Garfunkel reported this indecision over the song's name to the director, Nichols replied, "Don't be ridiculous! We're making a movie here! It's Mrs. Robinson!"
Simon pursued solo projects after the duo released their very popular album Bridge over Troubled Water. Occasionally, he and Garfunkel did reunite, such as in 1975 for their Top Ten single "My Little Town," which Simon originally wrote for Garfunkel, claiming his work was lacking ‘bite’. The song was included on their respective solo albums; Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, and Garfunkel's Breakaway. Contrary to popular belief, the song is not at all autobiographical of Simon's early life in New York. In 1981, they got together again for the famous concert in Central Park, followed by a world tour and an aborted reunion album Think Too Much, which was eventually released (sans Garfunkel) as Hearts and Bones. Together, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. In 2003, the two reunited again when they received Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. This reunion led to a U.S. tour, the acclaimed "Old Friends" concert series, followed by a 2004 international encore, which culminated in a free concert at the Colosseum in Rome. That final concert drew 600,000 people — 100,000 more than had attended Paul McCartney's concert at the same venue a year earlier.
After Simon and Garfunkel split in 1971, Simon began to write and record solo material. He released Paul Simon in 1972, which contained one of his first experiments with world music, the Jamaican-inspired Mother and Child Reunion, and There Goes Rhymin' Simon in 1973, which featured such popular hit songs as "Something So Right" (a tribute to his first wife, Peggy), "Kodachrome", "American Tune" and "Loves Me Like A Rock," the latter two obliquely referencing the dark cloud of the Watergate scandal involving the Nixon administration. His 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years is considered to be among his finest work, particularly the title track and the hit single "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." Over the next five years, Simon dabbled in various projects, including writing music for the film Shampoo (a project which was eventually scrapped) and acting (he was cast as Tony Lacey in Woody Allen's film Annie Hall). He continued, though less prolifically, to produce hits such as "Slip Slidin' Away" (on Simon's final Columbia album Greatest Hits, Etc. in 1977) and "Late in the Evening," (on 1980's One Trick Pony album) while often appearing on Saturday Night Live. The One Trick Pony album, Simon's first album with Warner Bros. Records (which also took over distribution of Simon's solo Columbia recordings from 1972 on) was also paired with a major motion picture of the same name, with Simon in the starring role. Simon's next album Hearts and Bones, while critically acclaimed, did not yield any hit singles and marked a lull in his commercial popularity in the early 1980s. The album featured "The Late Great Johnny Ace," a song partly about Johnny Ace, a U.S rhythm and blues singer, and partly about slain ex-Beatle John Lennon.
1985, Simon lent his talents to USA for Africa and performed on the
famine relief fundraising single We Are the World. In 1986 he released
the immensely popular Graceland, for which he won a Grammy. The album
featured the groundbreaking use of African rhythms and performers such
as Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 1990, he followed up Graceland with the
commercially successful and consistent successor album The Rhythm of
the Saints, which featured Brazilian musical themes. These albums
helped to popularize world music as a genre. The importance of both
albums allowed Simon to stage another New York concert, and on August
15, 1991, almost 10 years after his concert with Garfunkel, Simon
staged another concert in Central Park with both African and South
American bands. The success led to both a live album and an Emmy
winning TV special. His 2000 studio album You're the One, did not reach
the commercial heights of previous albums but was considered by many
fans and critics to be an artistic success and received a Grammy
nomination for Album of the Year. A DVD of the same title, taped in
Paris, was released in 2000. In 2002 he recorded the theme song for the
animated children's movie The Wild Thornberrys Movie called "Father and
Daughter." It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best
Song. Simon's latest album, Surprise, produced by himself and
Brian Eno (who was credited with "sonic landscapes"), was released on
May 9, 2006. In commenting on US TV show Ellen what drove him to write
material for this latest album, Simon noted the events of September 11,
2001 and also turning 60 since his previous album You're the One. Simon
toured the USA in early 2006, playing songs from Surprise as well as
his classics. Towards the end of the year, he toured Surprise in the
United Kingdom and Ireland. Simon is one of a small number of
performers such as Johnny Rivers, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd (from 1975's
Wish You Were Here onward), Queen, Genesis (though under the members'
individual names and/or the pseudonym Gelring Limited) and Neil Diamond
who have their name as the copyright owner on their recordings (most
records have the recording company as the named owner of the recording).
In 2004, Simon's record company announced the release of expanded editions of each of his solo albums, individually and together in a limited-edition nine-disc boxed set, Paul Simon: The Studio Recordings 1972–2000. The expanded individual albums feature a total of thirty bonus tracks, including original song demos, live recordings, duets, six never-before-released songs, and outtakes from each of his nine solo albums. Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a second time in 2000 for his achievements as a solo artist. (The first time was together with Art Garfunkel for their work as Simon and Garfunkel.)
In the late 1990s, he also wrote and produced a Broadway musical called The Capeman, which lost $11 million during its 1998 run. Though the musical failed, the music itself is considered to be some of Simon's finest. In April of 2008, the Brooklyn Academy of Music celebrated Paul Simon's works, and dedicated a week to Songs From the Capeman with a good portion of the show's songs performed by a cast of singers and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra. Simon himself appeared during the BAM shows, performing Trailways Bus and Late In The Evening.
Simon has also dabbled in acting. He played music producer Tony Lacey in the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall, and wrote and starred in 1980s One Trick Pony as Jonah Levin, a journeyman rock and roller. Paul Simon also appeared on The Muppet Show (the only episode to use only the songs of one songwriter, Simon). Simon has also appeared on Saturday Night Live (SNL) either as host or musical guest for a total of 12 times. His most recent SNL appearance was on May 13, 2006 (the host was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was, SNL's first female castmember to host an episode), when he appeared as musical guest and sang two new songs from his Surprise album, "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" and "Outrageous." In one SNL skit from 1986 (when he was promoting Graceland), Simon plays himself, waiting in line with a friend to get into a movie. He amazes his friend by remembering intricate details about prior meetings with passers-by, but draws a complete blank when approached by Art Garfunkel, despite the latter's numerous memory prompts. Simon also appeared alongside George Harrison as musical guest on the Thanksgiving Day episode of SNL (November 20, 1976). The two performed "Here Comes the Sun" and "Homeward Bound" together, while Simon performed "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" solo earlier in the show. On September 29, 2001, Simon made a special appearance on the first SNL to air after the September 11, 2001 attacks. On that show, he performed "The Boxer" to the audience and the NYC firefighters and police officers. He is also friends with former SNL star Chevy Chase, who appeared in his video for "You Can Call Me Al" lip synching the song while Simon looks disgruntled and mimes backing vocals and the playing of various instruments beside him. He is a close friend of SNL producer Lorne Michaels, who produced the 1977 TV show The Paul Simon Special, as well as the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park four years later. Simon and Lorne Michaels were the subjects of a 2006 episode of the Sundance channel documentary series, Iconoclasts. He has been the subject of two films by Jeremy Marre, the first on Graceland, the second on The Capeman.
Simon has been married three times. He is currently married to
singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. They were married May 30, 1992. They
have three children - Adrian Edward (born December 1992), Lucia Jean
(born March 1995) and Gabriel Elijah (born April 1998). Simon's first
marriage was to Peggy Harper; they were married in late autumn 1969.
They had a son, Harper Simon, in 1972. They divorced in 1975. The song
"Train in the Distance," from Simon's 1983 album, is about this
relationship. Simon's 1972 song "Run That Body Down", from his debut
solo album, casually mentions both himself and his then-wife ("Peg") by
name. His second marriage was to actress and author Carrie Fisher to
whom he proposed after a New York Yankees game. (the song Hearts and
Bones was written about this relationship) They were married on August
16, 1983 but the marriage lasted only eleven months.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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