Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is a Grammy Award-winning Musician. Simon is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, both as half of the folk-singing duo Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. In 2006, Time (magazine) magazine called him one of the 100 "people who shape our world." As of 2007, he resides in New Canaan, Connecticut.


Early lifeRectify

Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey to Jewish Hungarian parents Belle (died in 2007), an English teacher, and Louis Simon (died in 1995), a college professor, bass player, and dance bandleader who performed under the name "Lee Sims". His family soon moved to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens in New York. Simon's musical career began in Forest Hills High School when he and his friend Art Garfunkel began singing together as a duo, occasionally performing at school dances. Their idols were the Everly Brothers, whom they often emulated and/or imitated in their early recordings. Simon and Garfunkel were named "Tom & Jerry" by their record company and it was under this name that the duo first had success. In 1957, they recorded the single "Hey, Schoolgirl," on Big Records (New York) which reached forty-nine on the pop charts while they were still in their teens.

After graduating from high school, Simon attended Queens, while Garfunkel studied at Columbia University in Manhattan. Simon was a brother in the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity. Though Simon earned a degree in English literature, his real passion was Rock and roll. Between 1957 and 1964, Simon wrote, recorded, and released more than thirty songs, occasionally reuniting with Garfunkel as Tom & Jerry for some singles, including "Our Song," "That's My Story," and "Surrender, Please Surrender," among others. He also briefly attended Brooklyn Law School.

Most of the songs Simon recorded in the six years after 1957 were performed alone or with musicians other than Garfunkel. They were released on several minor record labels, such as Amy, ABC-Paramount, Big, Hunt, Ember, King, Tribute, and Madison. He used several different pseudonyms for these recordings, including Jerry Landis, Paul Kane (from Orson Welles's film Citizen Kane), and True Taylor. Simon enjoyed some moderate success in recording a few singles as part of a group called Tico and the Triumphs, including a song called "Motorcycle" which reached 99 on the Billboard (magazine) charts in 1962. Tico and the Triumphs released four "45s." Marty Cooper, a member of the group, sang lead on several of these releases and was actually known as Tico. Bobby Susser, children's songwriter and record producer, and childhood friend of Simon's, co-produced the Tico "45s" with Simon. That same year, Paul reached 97 on the pop charts as Jerry Landis with the hit "The Lone Teen Ranger." Both singles were released on Amy Records.

During this period, Simon met Carole King, with whom he recorded several unreleased demos as a duo called The Cosines to be recorded and released by other groups. In addition, Simon's experience in the studio led him to produce many singles for other acts, including The Vels, Ritchie Cordell, The Fashions, Jay Walker and the Pedestrians, and Dougie and the Dubs. It was also at this time that he became attracted to the New York Folk music scene and made his first forays into the folk-rock genre, as is evident in the songs "Carlos Dominguez" and "He Was My Brother" (1963), the latter of which he dedicated to a friend and former classmate, Andrew Goodman who had been murdered while working on the Freedom Summer project in Mississippi in 1964. During the mid-1960s, while living in the UK, Simon co-wrote several songs with Bruce Woodley of the Australian pop group The Seekers. "I Wish You Could Be Here," "Cloudy," and "Red Rubber Ball" were written during this period. However, Woodley's co-authorship credit was incorrectly omitted from "Cloudy" off the Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme album. When the American group The Cyrkle recorded a cover of "Red Rubber Ball," the song reached number two in the US. Simon also contributed his original composition to The Seekers catalogue, "Someday One Day," which was released in March 1966.

Simon and GarfunkelRectify

In early 1964, Simon and Garfunkel got an audition with Columbia Records, whose executives were impressed enough to sign the duo to a contract to produce an album. According to a February 2001 writing from Bud Scoppa, Miles Davis was a member of the Columbia Records staff that offered the duo a record deal. Columbia decided that the two would be called simply "Simon & Garfunkel," which Simon claimed in 2003, was the first time that artists' ethnic names had been used in pop music.

Simon and Garfunkel's first LP, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. was released on 19 October 1964 and comprised twelve songs in the folk vein, five of them written by Simon. The album initially flopped, but East Coast radio stations began receiving requests for one of the tracks, Simon's "The Sound of Silence." Their producer, Tom Wilson (producer), overdubbed the track with Electric guitar, bass, and drums, releasing it as a single that eventually went to number one on the pop charts in the USA.

Simon had gone to England after the initial failure of Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., pursuing a solo career (including collaborations with Bruce Woodley of The Seekers) and releasing the album The Paul Simon Song Book in the UK in 1965. But he returned to the USA to reunite with Garfunkel after "The Sound of Silence" had started to enjoy commercial success. Together they recorded several influential albums, including 1966's Sounds of Silence, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, Bookends in 1968 and Bridge Over Troubled Water (1969). Simon and Garfunkel also contributed extensively to the soundtrack of the 1967 Mike Nichols film The Graduate (starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft). While writing Mrs. Robinson, Simon originally toyed with the title Mrs. Roosevelt. When Garfunkel reported this indecision over the song's name to the director, Nichols replied, "Don't be ridiculous! We're making a movie here! It's Mrs. Robinson!"

Simon pursued solo projects after the duo released their very popular album Bridge over Troubled Water. Occasionally, he and Garfunkel did reunite, such as in 1975 for their Top Ten single "My Little Town," which Simon originally wrote for Garfunkel, claiming his work was lacking ‘bite’. Garfunkel insisted they sing the song together, and release it on their respective solo albums; Paul Simon's Still Crazy After All These Years, and Garfunkel's Art Garfunkel. Contrary to popular belief, the song is not at all autobiographical of Simon's early life in New York. In 1981, they got together again for the famous concert in Central Park, followed by an aborted reunion album Think Too Much, which was eventually released (sans Garfunkel) as Hearts and Bones. Together, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.

In 2003, the two reunited again when they received Grammy Award Lifetime Achievement Award. This reunion led to a U.S. tour, the acclaimed "Old Friends" concert series, followed by a 2004 international encore, which culminated in a free concert at the Colosseum in Rome. That final concert drew 600,000 people — 100,000 more than had attended Paul McCartney's concert at the same venue a year earlier.

Solo careerRectify

After Simon and Garfunkel split in 1971, Simon began to write and record solo material. He released Paul Simon (album) in 1972, which contained one of his first experiments with world music, the Jamaican-inspired Mother and Child Reunion, and There Goes Rhymin' Simon in 1973, which featured such popular hit songs as "Something So Right" (a tribute to his first wife, Peggy), "Kodachrome (song)", "American Tune" and "Loves Me Like A Rock," the latter two obliquely referencing the dark cloud of the Watergate scandal involving the Nixon administration. His 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years is considered to be among his finest work, particularly the title track and the hit single "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover." Over the next five years, Simon dabbled in various projects, including writing music for the film Shampoo (a project which was eventually scrapped) and acting (he was cast as Tony Lacey in Woody Allen's film Annie Hall). He continued, though less prolifically, to produce hits such as "Slip Slidin' Away" (on Simon's final Columbia album Greatest Hits, Etc. in 1977) and "Late In The Evening," (on 1980's One Trick Pony album) while often appearing on Saturday Night Live. The One Trick Pony album, Simon's first album with Warner Bros. Records (which also took over distribution of Simon's solo Columbia recordings from 1972 on) was also paired with a major motion picture of the same name, with Simon in the starring role. Simon's next album Hearts and Bones, while critically acclaimed, did not yield any hit singles and marked a lull in his commercial popularity in the early 1980s. The album featured "The Late Great Johnny Ace," a song partly about Johnny Ace, a U.S rhythm and blues singer, and partly about slain ex-Beatle John Lennon.

In 1985, Simon lent his talents to USA for Africa and performed on the Famine relief fundraising single We Are the World. In 1986 he released the immensely popular Graceland (album), for which he won a Grammy. The album featured the groundbreaking use of African rhythms and performers such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 1990, he followed up Graceland with the commercially successful and consistent successor album The Rhythm of the Saints, which featured Brazilian musical themes. These albums helped to popularize World music as a genre. The importance of both albums allowed Simon to stage another New York concert, and on August 15, 1991, almost 10 years after his concert with Garfunkel, Simon staged another concert in Central Park with both African and South American bands. The success led to both a live album and an Emmy winning TV special.

His 2000 studio album You're the One (album), did not reach the commercial heights of previous albums but was considered by many fans and critics to be an artistic success and received a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year. A DVD of the same title, taped in Paris, was released in 2000. In 2002 he recorded the theme song for the animated children's movie The Wild Thornberrys Movie called "Father and Daughter." It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.

Paul Simon Olympia 2000

Simon at the Olympia, Paris during the shooting of You're the One in concert.

Simon's latest album, Surprise (Paul Simon album), produced by himself and Brian Eno (who was credited with "sonic landscapes"), was released on May 9, 2006. In commenting on US TV show Ellen (TV series) what drove him to write material for this latest album, Simon noted the events of September 11, 2001 and also turning 60 since his previous album You're the One. Simon toured the USA in early 2006, playing songs from Surprise as well as his classics. Towards the end of the year, he toured Surprise in the UK and Ireland.

Simon is one of a small number of performers such as Johnny Rivers, Billy Joel, Pink Floyd (from 1975's Wish You Were Here (album) onward), Queen (band), Genesis (band) (though under the members' individual names and/or the pseudonym Gelring Limited) and Neil Diamond who have their name as the Copyright owner on their recordings (most records have the recording company as the named owner of the recording).

2004 reissuesRectify

In 2004, Simon's record company announced the release of expanded editions of each of his solo albums, individually and together in a limited-edition nine-disc boxed set, Paul Simon: The Studio Recordings 1972–2000. The expanded individual albums feature a total of thirty bonus tracks, including original song demos, live recordings, duets, six never-before-released songs, and outtakes from each of his nine solo albums.

Simon was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame a second time in 2000 for his achievements as a solo artist. (The first time was together with Art Garfunkel for their work as Simon and Garfunkel.)

Music for BroadwayRectify

In the late 1990s, he also wrote and produced a Broadway musical called The Capeman, which lost $11 million during its 1998 run. Though the musical failed, the music itself is considered to be some of Simon's finest. In April of 2008, the Brooklyn Academy of Music celebrated Paul Simon's works, and dedicated a week to Songs From the Capeman with a good portion of the show's songs performed by a cast of singers and the Spanish Harlmen Orchestra. Simon himself appeared during the BAM shows, performing Trailways Bus and Late In The Evening.

Film and televisionRectify

Simon has also dabbled in acting. He played music producer Tony Lacey in the 1977 Woody Allen film Annie Hall, and wrote and starred in 1980s One Trick Pony as Jonah Levin, a journeyman rock and roller. Paul Simon also appeared on The Muppet Show (the only episode to use only the songs of one songwriter, Simon).

Simon has also appeared on Saturday Night Live (SNL) either as host or musical guest for a total of 12 times. His most recent SNL appearance was on May 13 2006 (the host was Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who was [at the time], SNL's first female castmember to host an episode), when he appeared as musical guest and sang two new songs from his Surprise (Paul Simon album) album, "How Can You Live in the Northeast?" and "Outrageous." In one SNL skit from 1986 (when he was promoting Graceland), Simon plays himself, waiting in line with a friend to get into a movie. He amazes his friend by remembering intricate details about prior meetings with passers-by, but draws a complete blank when approached by Art Garfunkel, despite the latter's numerous memory prompts.

Simon also appeared alongside with George Harrison as musical guest on the Thanksgiving Day episode of SNL (November 20, 1976). The two performed "Here Comes the Sun" and "Homeward Bound" together, while Simon performed "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" solo earlier in the show.

On September 29, 2001, Simon made a special appearance on the first SNL to air after the September 11, 2001. On that show, he performed "The Boxer" to the audience and the NYC firefighters and police officers. He is also friends with former SNL star Chevy Chase, who appeared in his video for "You Can Call Me Al" lip synching the song while Simon looks disgruntled and mimes backing vocals and the playing of various instruments beside him. He is a close friend of SNL producer Lorne Michaels, who produced the 1977 TV show The Paul Simon Special, as well as the Simon and Garfunkel concert in Central Park four years later. Simon and Lorne Michaels were the subjects of a 2006 episode of the Sundance channel documentary series, Iconoclasts.

He has been the subject of two films by Jeremy Marre, the first on Graceland, the second on The Capeman.

Personal lifeRectify

Simon has been married three times. He is currently married to singer-songwriter Edie Brickell. They were married May 30, 1992. They have three children - Adrian Edward (born December 1992), Lucia Jean (born March 1995) and Gabriel Elijah (born April 1998).

Simon's first marriage was to Peggy Harper; they were married in late autumn 1969. They had a son, Harper Simon, in 1972. They divorced in 1975. The song "Train in the Distance," from Simon's 1983 album, is about this relationship. Simon's 1972 song "Run That Body Down", from his debut solo album, casually mentions both himself and his then-wife ("Peg") by name.

His second marriage was to actress and author Carrie Fisher to whom he proposed after a New York game. (the song Hearts and Bones was written about this relationship) They were married on August 16, 1983 but the marriage lasted only eleven months.


Simon is a proponent of music education for children. In 2003, he signed on as an official supporter of Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides free musical instruments and free lessons to children in public schools throughout the U.S.A. He sits on the organization's board of directors as an honorary member

Paul Simon is also a major benefactor and one of the founders of the Children's Health Project and Children's Health Fund which started by creating specially equipped "buses" to take medical care to children in medically underserved areas, urban and rural. Their first bus was in the impoverished South Bronx of New York City but they now operate in 12 states, including the Gulf Coast. It has expanded greatly, partnering with major hospitals, local public schools and medical schools and advocating policy for children's health and medical care.


Simon is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame — as a solo artist in 2001, and in 1990 as half of Simon and Garfunkel. In 2002, Simon was one of the five annual recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors, the nation's highest tribute to performing and cultural artists. He received the award after Sir Paul McCartney withdrew, citing "personal considerations."

On March 1, 2007, Simon was announced as the recipient of the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song, which he received on May 23, 2007. The award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture. Upon being notified of receiving this honor, Simon said, “I am grateful to be the recipient of the Gershwin Prize and doubly honored to be the first. I look forward to spending an evening in the company of artists I admire at the award ceremony in May. I can think of a few who have expressed my words and music far better than I. I’m excited at the prospect of that happening again. It’s a songwriter’s dream come true." Simon was also reunited with Art Garfunkel for the occasion, when they performed "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "Cecilia".

The Gershwin Prize event was nationally broadcast on PBS on June 27, 2007.


As Simon and GarfunkelRectify

Year Album Title US Chart Position RIAA Certification
1964 Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. 30 Platinum
1965 Sounds of Silence 21 3x Platinum
1966 Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme 4 3x Multi-Platinum
1967 The Hit Sounds of Simon and Garfunkel
1968 The Graduate 1 2x Multi-Platinum
1968 Bookends 1 2x Multi-Platinum
1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water 1 8x Multi-Platinum
1972 Simon and Garfunkel 5 14x Multi-Platinum
1982 concert in Central Park 6 2x Multi-Platinum
2002 Live from New York City, 1967
2004 Old Friends: Live on Stage 154

As Paul SimonRectify

Year Album Title Peak on UK Charts RIAA Certification
1965 The Paul Simon Songbook not released in the US until 2004
1972 Paul Simon (album) 4 Platinum
1973 There Goes Rhymin' Simon 2 Platinum
1974 Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin' 33 Platinum
1975 Still Crazy After All These Years 1 Gold
1977 Greatest Hits, Etc. 18 Platinum
1980 One-Trick Pony (album) 12 Gold
1983 Hearts and Bones 35
1986 Graceland (album) 1 5x Platinum
1988 Negotiations and Love Songs 110
1990 The Rhythm of the Saints 4 2x Multi-Platinum
1991 Paul Simon's Concert in the Park, August 15, 1991 74
1993 The Paul Simon Anthology
1993 Paul Simon 1964/1993 173
1997 Songs from The Capeman 42
2000 You're the One (album) 19
2006 Recorded As Jerry Landis 14
2006 Surprise (Paul Simon album) 14
2007 The Essential Paul Simon 42


Year Title Chart positions Album
U.S. Hot 100 U.S. Modern Rock U.K.
1958 "True or False"/"Teenage Fool" [a] - - -
1959 "Anna Belle"/"Loneliness" [b] - - -
1959 "Don’t Take the Stars"/"So Tenderly" [c] - - -
1960 "Just a Boy"/"Shy" [b] - - -
1960 "Just a Boy"/"I'd Like to Be" [b] - - -
1960 "All Through the Night"/"(I Begin) To Think Again of You" (Laurie Records) [c] - - -
1961 "I'm Lonely"/"I Wish I Weren't in Love" [b] - - -
1961 "Play Me A Sad Song"/"It Means a Lot to Them" [b] - - -
1961 "Motorcycle"/"I Don't Believe Them" [d] 99 - -
1962 "Wildflower"/"Express Train" [d] - - -
1962 "Cry, Little Boy, Cry"/"Get Up And Do The Wobble" [d] - - -
1962 "The Lone Teen Ranger"/"Lisa" [e] 97 - -
1962 "Cards of Love"/"Noise" [d] - - -
1962 "Tick Tock"/"Please Don't Tell Her" [f] - - -
1963 "Carlos Dominguez"/"He Was My Brother" [g] - - -
1964 "He Was My Brother"/"Carlos Dominguez" [b] [l] - - -
1965 "I Am a Rock"/"Leaves That Are Green" [h] - - - The Paul Simon Song Book
1972 "Mother and Child Reunion"/"Paranoia Blues" 4 - 5 Paul Simon (album)
1972 "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard"/"Congratulations" 22 - 15 Paul Simon
1972 "Duncan"/"Run That Body Down" 58 - - Paul Simon
1973 "Kodachrome (song)"/"Tenderness" 2 - - There Goes Rhymin' Simon
1973 "Loves Me Like Rock"/"Learn How To Fall" [i] 2 - 39 There Goes Rhymin' Simon
1973 "American Tune"/"One Man's Ceiling Is Another Man's Floor" 35 - - There Goes Rhymin' Simon
1973 "Take Me to the Mardi Gras"/"Something So Right" - - 7 There Goes Rhymin' Simon
1974 "The Sounds of Silence (song)"/"Mother and Child Reunion" - - - Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin'
1975 "Gone at Last"/"Tenderness" [j] 23 - - Still Crazy After All These Years and There Goes Rhymin' Simon
1975 "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover"/"Some Folks' Lives Roll Easy" 1 - 23 Still Crazy After All These Years
1976 "Still Crazy After All These Years"/"I Do It for Your Love" 40 - - Still Crazy After All These Years
1977 "Slip Slidin' Away"/"Something So Right" [k] 5 - 36 Greatest Hits, Etc.
1977 "Stranded in a Limousine"/"Have a Good Time" [l] - - - Greatest Hits, Etc.
1980 "Late in the Evening"/"How the Heart Approaches What It Yearns" 6 - 58 One Trick Pony Soundtrack
1980 "One Trick Pony"/"Long, Long Day" 40 - - One Trick Pony Soundtrack
1981 "Oh, Marion"/"God Bless the Absentee" - - - One Trick Pony Soundtrack
1983 "Allergies"/"Think Too Much"(b) 44 - - Hearts and Bones
1984 "Think Too Much"(a)/"Song About the Moon" - - - Hearts and Bones
1986 You Can Call Me Al/"Gumboots" 23 - 4 Graceland (album)
1986 "Graceland"/"Hearts And Bones" 81 - 98 Graceland (A-side); Hearts and Bones (B-side)
1987 "The Boy in the Bubble"/"Crazy Love, Vol. II" 86 - 26 Graceland
1987 "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes"/"All Around The World, Or The Myth Of Fingerprints" - - 77 Graceland
1990 "The Obvious Child" 92 24 15 The Rhythm of the Saints
1990 "Proof" - - 89 The Rhythm of the Saints
1990 "Born at the Right Time" - - - The Rhythm of the Saints
1991 "Still Crazy After All These Years (Live)" - - - Paul Simon's Concert in the Park, August 15, 1991
1995 "Something So Right" (with Annie Lennox) - - 44 Medusa (Annie Lennox album) (Annie Lennox album)
2000 "Old" - - - You're the One (album)
2000 "You're The One" - - - You're the One (album)
2003 "Father and Daughter" - - - The Wild Thornberrys Movie OST
2006 "Father and Daughter" - - 31 Surprise (Paul Simon album)
2006 "That's me" - - - Surprise (Paul Simon album)
2006 "Outrageous" - - - Surprise (Paul Simon album)

[a] as True Taylor

[b] as Jerry Landis

[c] recorded on Laurie Records as a member of The Mystics

[d] recorded as Tico & The Triumphs with Mickey Borack, Marty Cooper, Bobby Susser and Howie Beck.

[e] as Jerry Landis, but recorded with the members of Tico & the Triumphs.

[f] backing vocals on this record by Ritchie Cordell

[g] as Paul Kane

[h] released only in the UK as CBS 201797

[i] A-side with The Dixie Hummingbirds

[j] A-side as a duet with Phoebe Snow

[k] A-side with The Oak Ridge Boys

[l] released only in the UK

NB: This discography does not include singles released under the pseudonym "Tom & Jerry" with Art Garfunkel or singles released by Simon & Garfunkel


Work on BroadwayRectify

  • Rock 'N Roll! The First 5,000 Years (1982) - Revue - featured Songwriter for Mrs. Robinson
  • Asinamali! (1987) - play - co-producer
  • Mike Nichols and Elaine May: Together Again on Broadway (1992) - Concert - performer
  • The Capeman (1998) - Composer, co-Lyricist and music arranger - Tony Nomination for Tony
  • The Graduate (2002) - play - featured Songwriter

See alsoRectify

  • A Poem on the Underground Wall
  • List of songs written by Paul Simon


External linksRectify