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Simon, Paul,1941–, American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, b. Newark, N.J. A polished and intelligent folk-rock lyricist and performer, he first gained fame as half of Simon and Garfunkel (with Art Garfunkel, 1942–). The vocal and instrumental twosome, with their close harmonies and folk-inflected lyrics and melodies, were extremely successful in the second half of the 1960s. Among their hits were "The Sound of Silence," "Scarborough Fair," "Homeward Bound" and "Mrs. Robinson." Not long after their highly successful album Bridge over Troubled Water (1970) and single of the same name, Simon chose to pursue a solo career, releasing the album Paul Simon in 1972.
In his solo work, Simon has used a startling variety of national and international styles, mingling them with an idiosyncratic and highly personal content. His folk-inflected and often introspective songs of the 1970s are typified by those on Still Crazy after All These Years (1975). He broadened his themes in Graceland (1986), one of the most popular albums of the decade, which featured several African musicians, including the South African choral group Ladysmith Black MambazoLadysmith Black Mambazo
, choral group formed in 1965 in Ladysmith, South Africa, founded and led (until 2014) by Joseph Shabalala (1941–2020). The group, which sings with a precise yet free-flowing phrasing, has consisted of 8 to 12 members.
..... Click the link for more information. . His next album, The Rhythm of the Saints (1990), explored Afro-Brazilian music. After the failure of his Latin-themed Broadway musical The Capeman (1997, written with Derek WalcottWalcott, Derek Alton,
1930–2017, West Indian dramatist and poet, b. Castries, St. Lucia, grad. Univ. of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, 1953. His grandfathers were both white, one of English, the other of Dutch extraction; his grandmothers were both brown-skinned West
..... Click the link for more information. ), Simon toured (1999) with Bob DylanDylan, Bob
, 1941–, American singer and composer, b. Duluth, Minn., as Robert Zimmerman. Dylan learned guitar at the age of 10 and autoharp and harmonica at 15. After a rebellious youth, he moved to New York City in 1960 and in the early years of the decade began playing
..... Click the link for more information. . Later albums are You're the One (2000), Surprise (2006), So Beautiful So What (2011), and Stranger to Stranger (2016).
See biographies by P. Humphries (1989), M. Eliot (2010), and P. A. Carlin (2016); M. S. Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel (1977) and V. Kingston, Simon and Garfunkel: The Biography (1998); S. Luftig, ed. Paul Simon Companion: Four Decades of Commentary (1997); S. Steinberg, dir., American Masters, Paul Simon (documentary, 1993).