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Second half of Simon and Garfunkel hails from boro

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Legendary singing duo Simon and Garfunkel helped define the singer-songwriter generation of the 1960s with their blend of folk and pop music, charming melodies and catchy lyrics. Half of that storied partnership is Forest Hills native Art Garfunkel, born Nov. 5, 1941.

After his partnership with Paul Simon ended in 1970, Garfunkel pursued a solo recording career and embarked on an acting career, both with mixed success. Periodically reuniting with Simon for tours and concerts, Garfunkel has remained in the public eye for nearly five decades.

Growing up in Forest Hills, Garfunkel was raised Jewish. It was at temple that he first began to sing in public, becoming a cantor after his bar mitzvah. An avid basketball player in his early youth, Garfunkel quickly discovered that his talents lay elsewhere. When he was cast in his sixth-grade graduation play “Alice in Wonderland,” he met Simon. Garfunkel and Simon were soon performing together as “Tom & Jerry,” modeling their sounds after the style of the Everly Brothers.

Concurrently, Garfunkel pursued his education in these early years. He earned a bachelor’s degree in art history in 1964 from Queens College and then a master’s in mathematics in 1967 from the prestigious Teacher’s College.

“Simon and Garfunkel” officially formed in 1963 and shortly thereafter they released their album “Wednesday Morning 3AM” in 1964. It was not the commercial hit they had hoped for.

Musician Tom Wilson re-recorded “Sounds of Silence” off the “3AM” album and it became a minor hit. With this interest in their music revived, Simon returned from England where he had been studying and they reformed their act. Throughout the mid-1960s, they released the hit albums “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme,” “Bookends,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and the soundtrack to the movie “The Graduate” in quick succession to critical acclaim.

Although Simon and Garfunkel parted ways in 1970, they have continued to occasionally collaborate on new music and to perform concert dates, such as the legendary concert in Central Park in 1981. Garfunkel has continued to act sporadically in TV and movies and record his own music as well. He contributes his thoughts to a blog on his website, artgarfunkel.com, which also chronicles his love of walking. He has completed walks across America, in stages beginning in 1983 and completed in 1997, as well as several European and Asian countries.

Revealing quote: “Paul has more, I think, of a feel for the stage. Whereas I have it more for the notes themselves. I love record making and mixing, arranging, producing. That I love. I love to make beautiful things, but I don’t like to perform.”

For more information, call 718-278-0700 or visit astorialic.org.

Posted 12:00 am, November 16, 2013
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