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Happy birthday Paul Simon!

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Paul Simon (October 13, 1941) is an American musician and songwriter perhaps best known as part of the popular folk music duo Simon & Garfunkel, along with Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the duo's songs, including hit singles like "Bridge Over Troubled Water," "The Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson," and "America." Simon & Garfunkel split in 1970, and Simon went on to pursue a very successful solo career which spawned popular albums like Graceland and Still Crazy After All These Years. For his considerable contributions to American popular music, Simon has won 13 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award, and was named by TIME magazine in their 2006 list, "100 People Who Shaped the World."

artworks-000006566202-lghtan-cropPaul Simon was born in New Jersey to Jewish-American couple Louis and Belle Simon. The family moved to Queens during Paul's childhood, where he met his future music partner Art Garfunkel, when they were both just 11 years old. When Simon was 12 or 13, he wrote a song called "The Girl for Me," which later became the first copyrighted Simon & Garfunkel song listed in the Library of Congress. After graduating from college, Simon briefly attended Brooklyn Law School, but left to pursue a career in music. (Image source)

In 1964, the pair released their first album as Simon & Garfunkel, called Wednesday Morning 3AM. The album was not very successful, but did contain an acoustic version of their later hit, "The Sound of Silence." Since the album was a flop, Simon moved to England for a while to pursue a solo career, releasing The Paul Simon Songbook in 1965. Slowly, "The Sound of Silence" became a popular song on the radio, which encouraged Simon to move back to the US and reunite with Garfunkel. They went on to record four critically successful albums: Sounds of Silence; Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Bookends, and Bridge over Troubled Water. The pair contributed heavily to the 1967 film The Graduate, resulting in their hit song "Mrs. Robinson."

 

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David Bowie, Art Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Yoko Ono, and John Lennon, Grammys 1975 (source)

In 1970, Simon & Garfunkel split at the height of their popularity, citing artistic differences. Simon went on to release a self titled album that included the songs "Mother and Child Reunion" and "Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard." During the 1980's, Simon became quite interested in African and Brazilian music, eventually traveling to South Africa to study the native styles of music. While there, he began recording the album Graceland, which is perhaps his most popular album in his entire solo career.

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Graceland became an international hit, and was the second best-selling album of 1987 in the US. The lead single "You Can Call Me Al" remains one of Simon's most iconic works as a songwriter. After Graceland came the album The Rhythm of the Saints in 1990, which included another popular single, "The Obvious Child." At the height of his success as a solo artist, Simon staged a concert in New York City's Central Park, drawing an audience of over 750,000 people. Simon later called the concert "the most memorable moment of [his] career." (Image source)

Since then, Simon has performed and released music less prolifically. In October 2000, he released an album called You're the One, which was less commercially successful, but well reviewed, and which received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. In 2002, Simon wrote and recorded the theme song for The Wild Thornberrys Movie, "Father and Daughter," which was nominated for Academy Award for Best Song.

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In 2006, Simon released Surprise, an album in collaboration with Brian Eno, which was praised by critics as a veritable comeback record. In 2007, the Library of Congress announced that Simon would be the first recipient of the newly created Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. In October 2011, Simon was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2012, was awarded the Polar Music Prize along with Yo-Yo Ma.

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Additional Info

  • Birthday Date: Monday, 13 October 2014
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