In a career dating back to the 1950s, Paul Simon established himself among the best and most popular songwriters of the rock era. Growing up in Queens, NY, Simon befriended schoolmate Art Garfunkel
, who had an angelic tenor voice, and the two teamed up as Tom & Jerry
, taking the names of the cartoon characters. In the winter of 1957-1958, they scored a chart hit with "Hey Schoolgirl"; both were 16 years old.
Simon continued to try to score hits in the late '50s and early '60s, reaching the charts briefly in 1962 in the group Tico & the Triumphs with "Motorcycle" and under the name Jerry Landis in 1963 with "The Lone Teen Ranger." He and Garfunkel
teamed up again as a folk duo in Greenwich Village, signed to Columbia Records, and released Wednesday Morning, 3 AM (October 1964). The album flopped initially, but Simon, who had been spending a lot of time in England, was picked up as a solo artist by CBS and recorded The Paul Simon Songbook
, released only in Great Britain in the spring of 1965.
In the wake of the folk-rock trend prevalent that year, producer Tom Wilson
took the acoustic track "The Sound of Silence" from the Wednesday Morning
album, overdubbed electric guitar, bass, and drums and released the result as a single in October 1965, a full year after the album's release. It took off and hit number one, establishing Simon & Garfunkel
For the next five years, they were one of the most successful acts in ...