When they broke up in 1970, folk rock duo Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel weren’t on the best of terms. But 33 years spent mostly apart with only occasional reunion tours have healed wounds and turned the former bitter enemies into old friends. At least, that’s what they’d have us believe as they prepare for their Old Friends Tour, their first major outing since 1983.
Simon & Garfunkel announced the reunion in a New York press conference on Tuesday at the club the Bottom Line. A brief performance of their songs “Old Friends,” “Homeward Bound” and “The Boxer” followed the news. So far, 28 shows have been planned, starting October 18 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. Dates will run through the middle of December. Some will go on sale on Monday.
The concerts will mostly consist of material from the group’s five studio albums, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, (1964), Sounds of Silence (1966), Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (1966), Bookends (1968) and Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970). However, Simon & Garfunkel will perform a smattering of songs from their respective solo careers. Some songs will be played as a duo and others will be performed with a backing band.
The duo grew up together as friends in Forest Hills, New York, and started recording together in 1957 as Tom & Jerry. After breaking up, they discovered the reflective ring and lilting harmonies of folk music, and re-formed as Simon & Garfunkel.
Although they didn’t make a splash right away, gradually they would develop a large following with songs like “The Sounds of Silence,” “I Am a Rock” and “Homeward Bound.” But it was “Mrs. Robinson,” a song penned for the Mike Nichols film “The Graduate,” that catapulted Simon & Garfunkel into the mainstream.
The track won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1969 and Simon was honored with a Grammy for Best Original Score for a Motion Picture. The band’s next record, Bridge Over Troubled Water, received several Grammys, including one for Album of the Year.
Simon & Garfunkel broke up in 1970 because of personal and artistic differences, yet remained aware of their appeal to the public, and occasionally got back together. In 1975 they recorded the single “My Little Town” and they played a few shows here and there. One of these shows, a 1981 concert in Central Park, drew 500,000 fans, and was captured on the 1982 disc Live in Central Park. The success of the album led to a 1983 tour, but plans to record a new album were thwarted because of their inability to get along.
Most recently, Simon & Garfunkel opened this year’s Grammy Awards with a performance of “The Sounds of Silence” and were honored at the ceremony with the Lifetime Achievement Award. A double-disc retrospective, Essential Simon & Garfunkel, will be released on October 14.
Confirmed Simon & Garfunkel tour dates, according to their publicist:
- 10/18 – Auburn Hills, Michigan @ Palace of Auburn Hills
- 10/22 – Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
- 10/24 – Chicago, IL @ United Center
- 10/26 – Saint Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
- 11/5 – San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion at San Jose
- 11/14 – Anaheim, CA @ Arrowhead Pond
- 11/17 – Los Angeles, CA @ Staples Center