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7/2/07

Paul Simon


Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. 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 called him one of the "100 people who shape our world". He currently resides in New Canaan, Connecticut.

Simon was born in Newark, New Jersey to Jewish American parents: Belle, an English teacher, and Louis Simon, a bandleader and teacher. His family soon moved to Kew Gardens Hills, Queens in New York City, 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 which reached forty-nine on the pop charts while they were still in their teens.

After graduating from high school, Simon attended Queens College, 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.

However, 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 mediocre 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 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 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 2008.

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Graceland-Paul Simon Concert in Zimbabwe

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