As childhood friends, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel knew they had a strong musical connection when they began playing for friends’ parties and in small venues. Taking the name Tom & Jerry, they went on to record “Hey, Schoolgirl,” a song heavily influenced by The Everly Brothers. They had their first hit at ages 16. A few years later, they dropped the stage names and went by their surnames, Simon & Garfunkel. They recorded one album, and subsequently split up. Simon was on a small UK tour, while producer Tom Wilson added electric backing to “The Sounds of Silence” without the twosome ever knowing. The electrified song went to Number One, and they had no other option than to reunite.
On January 30th,1966 they made their only appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Sharing the Sunday evening with Four Tops and Topo Gigio, they performed at the end of the show. Both wearing black ties and matching blazers, they sang “I Am a Rock” on a darkened stage with a single spotlight illuminating them. Though they only performed a single song, Simon and Garfunkel’s melodic harmonies and poetic lyrics left a lasting impression on The Ed Sullivan Show. Coincidentally, this was the same stage that Paul’s father often played on as part of the network orchestra.
1966 turned out to be an incredibly busy and successful year for Simon & Garfunkel. After the Sullivan performance, “I Am a Rock” went to number 3, and “Homeward Bound” want to number 5 that same year. They would find even more success and broad appeal after their huge contributions to “The Graduate” in 1968. “Mrs. Robinson” would be their second number one song, and won the Grammy for Record of the Year. Paul Simon would also win the Grammy for Best Original Soundtrack.
Simon & Garfunkel continued to create music together until 1970, when they went their separate ways. While Paul remained in the music world, Art decided to give acting a try. They were inducted into the rock and Roll hall of Fame in 1990, and most recently had to postpone a short tour due to Art’s vocal cord paresis, from which he is expected to fully recover.