Art Garfunkel is an American singer, Poet, Actor, and songwriter. As one half of the folk-rock combo Simon & Garfunkel, Artie, and Paul Simon released several number-one singles. The films “Mrs. Robinson” and “The Sound of Silence” are two examples. However, his efforts to work with Paul Simon were often hampered by feuds and disagreements between the two. It became clear that the two creatives were not suited to sustained collaboration, and they eventually parted ways.
On November 5, 1941, in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, the world was introduced to Arthur Ira Garfunkel. Art was raised in a Romanian Jewish family with two brothers, and he got his first taste of synagogue music as a child. As it turns out, Art’s cousin was the late Lou Pearlman, who created the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
By the time Garfunkel was in the first grade, he was giving himself the chills by singing songs like “Unchained Melody” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Art’s father gave him a wire recorder for his birthday when he was young, and he used it to make recordings of himself singing.
Afterward, he listened to the recordings to look for areas of improvement. He sang for four hours straight as part of the bar mitzvah celebration, assuming the role of a cantor.
Art had to stop singing for a whole summer when he was a teenager due to a lung infection, so he used that time to work on his jump shot. He still shows a passion for the sport. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel initially met in the sixth grade when they were both casts in the school performance of “Alice in Wonderland.” As Garfunkel tells it, Simon was so moved by his performance that he decided to take up singing after seeing him sing at a talent event.
Tom & Jerry, the musical duet comprised of Simon and Garfunkel, was popular from the mid-1950s through the early 1960s. The Everly Brothers were an inspiration, and thus the two of them began performing two-part vocal harmony at school dances. They put out “Hey Schoolgirl” in 1957, and it peaked at #49 on the charts.
This marked the beginning of Simon and Garfunkel’s first serious argument with one another. Sid Posen, an executive for Simon’s record label, approached him with an offer to record two more singles (as a solo artist). Simon failed to tell Art Garfunkel this, and the musician felt betrayed. Tom and Jerry ended, and the two of them went their separate ways.
Upon finishing high school, Garfunkel enrolled at Columbia University to study architecture. In college, he participated in several sports, including tennis, skiing, fencing, and bowling. He also maintained his musical pursuits by becoming a member of the Columbia Kingsmen, an all-male a cappella group. Art received his Bachelor of Arts in art history in 1965 and his Master of Arts in mathematics education the following year.
“Simon & Garfunkel”
After Paul Simon left Brooklyn Law School in 1962, Art and Garfunkel ran into each other again in 1963. They decided to reunite as a team despite their worries about working together again. They also went in a new direction with their moniker, dropping “Tom & Jerry” in favor of “Simon & Garfunkel.” They were first concerned that it sounded too much like a law practice but decided to proceed nonetheless.
The Debut album “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.” was released in 1964 on Columbia Records. The record was virtually disregarded by the press. Following this setback, Art decided to devote himself only to his studies at Columbia University. Thankfully, “The Sound of Silence” was re-released as a single in 1965 by producer Tom Wilson, and he immediately became a chart-topper. A surprising number of college kids took to the tune.
The two were reunited after Paul, who had been pursuing a solo career in the UK, moved back to the US. Over the next few years, they recorded four critically acclaimed albums together: “Sounds of Silence,” “Parsley Sage,” “Rosemary and Thyme,” “Bookends,” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
In the end, it was the third album that sold over 25 million copies and won two Grammys. The music of the popular 1967 picture “The Graduate” had significant contributions by Simon & Garfunkel. One of their most well-known and well-loved songs, “Mrs. Robinson,” was the outcome.
Art became successful as a solo performer while Paul Simon received much of the credit as the primary songwriter for Simon & Garfunkel. Art Garfunkel had a number of successful solo releases, including a top ten hit. Art has been honored with a People’s Choice Award in addition to his eight Grammys. Both he and Paul Simon entered the Hall of Fame in 1990. Nowadays, most people would agree that Garfunkel is one of the best singers of all time.
After long-simmering tensions between Art and Paul finally came to the surface, a breakup was all but inevitable. While Art was getting acting offers in movies like “Catch-22” and “Carnal Knowledge,” Paul was left feeling neglected.
They went their separate ways in 1970 to focus on their respective careers. Nevertheless, they managed to get back together on occasion for a few shows. Though it peaked at #5 in the charts, Garfunkel’s solo debut, 1973’s “Angel Clare,” was met with lukewarm reviews.
His following album, “Breakaway,” was even more commercially successful with songs like “My Little Town” (written by Paul Simon) and “I Only Have Eyes For You.” Several missteps and misfortunes plagued Art’s career during the next few years.
Art’s inability to produce new music dates back to well before the suicide of his longtime girlfriend Laurie Bird in 1974. Garfunkel went into a deep depression after the release of “Scissors Cut,” their critically panned album. When his father passed away during this time, things got even worse.
In the late 1990s, Garfunkel made a comeback with a slew of new accomplishments and, for the first time, began penning his own songs. After a long break, Art and Paul began working together again in 2009, but tensions flared up again when Garfunkel had to cancel a lucrative tour due to vocal chord paresis. Paul Simon claimed that the artistic community had failed everyone down by not being “honest.”
Singer-songwriter Art Garfunkel of the United States has a net worth of $95 million.
Once married to architect Linda Marie Grossman, Art Garfunkel split with her in 1975. After the breakup, he said the marriage was rocky and they haven’t communicated since.
From 1974 until she committed suicide in 1979, he dated actress Laurie Bird. “I asked myself continuously why I didn’t marry her because clearly, she was the apple of my eye,” Garfunkel said of his then-fiancée in a 1986 interview.
She embodied every quality I desired in a life partner. However, my first marriage had left me quite wounded, so I was understandably hesitant to get married to Laurie again. As you may imagine, I was devastated. To put it mildly, it knocked me for a loop. When night fell, I’d always feel a deep sense of melancholy. I felt really isolated throughout the nighttime hours.