Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941 in Newark, New Jersey) is a renowned Jewish American songwriter, receiving Kennedy Center Honors in 2002. He graduated Queens College and briefly attended Brooklyn Law School. Simon has been married three times; he is currently married to Edie Brickell whom he wed on May 30, 1992. He has four children, and his first son, Harper Simon, is a guitarist.
Simon was the primary songwriter in the duo Simon and Garfunkel, originally calling themselves Tom and Jerry but later using their real surnames as their moniker. Together they recorded several influential albums, including 1966’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, and Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970). However, he wrote, recorded, and released more than thirty songs between 1957 and 1964 when Columbia first recorded the duo. Simon and Garfunkel also contributed extensively to the soundtrack of the 1967 film, “The Graduate” (starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft). They recorded “Mrs. Robinson” specifically for the film; other songs by the duo were also used in the film.
Simon pursued solo projects after the duo released their very popular album Bridge Over Troubled Water. Occasionally, he and Art Garfunkel would reunite, such as in 1975 for their Top Ten single, “My Little Town”. In 1981, they reunited for the famous concert in Central Park. In 2003, he reunited, again, with Garfunkel when Simon and Garfunkel received Grammy’s lifetime achievement award. This reunion led to the U.S. tour, the acclaimed “Old Friends” Concert series, followed by a 2004 international encore, which culminated in a free concert at the Roman Coliseum. That final concert drew 600,000 people - 100,000 more than attended Paul McCartney’s concert at the same venue, one year earlier.
After Simon and Garfunkel split in 1971, Paul Simon began to write and record solo material. He released Paul Simon in 1972, although this was not his first solo album. He continued to release remarkable material during the seventies, and in 1986 released the ground-breaking and immensely popular Graceland. In 2000, Simon released an album titled, You’re the One, backed up by concerts, one of which filmed in Paris is available on DVD. Simon has also dabbled in acting. He played music producer Tony Lacey in the 1977 Woody Allen film, “Annie Hall”. He wrote and starred in 1980’s “One-Trick Pony”, playing Jonah Levin, a journeyman rock and roller. During the mid-1960s, Paul Simon co-wrote the song, “Red Rubber Ball” with Bruce Woodley of the Australian pop group, the Seekers. When the American group, the Cyrkle, recorded a cover of the song, it reached number one in America.
In 2004, his record company announced the release of expanded editions of each of his solo albums, individually and together in a limited-edition nine-disc box set, Paul Simon: The Studio Recordings 1972-2000. Expanded individual albums feature a total of 30 bonus tracks, including original song demos, live recordings, duets, six never-before-released songs and outtakes from each of his nine solo albums. Among the bonus tracks included in the release are an acoustic demo of “Homeless”, recorded prior to his sessions in South Africa with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, from Graceland; “Shelter of Your Arms”, a previously unreleased song featuring a solo acoustic performance from the Hearts and Bones sessions; demos of “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “Duncan” recorded in San Francisco in 1971 by Paul Simon; the original demo of “Gone at Last”, with the Jessy Dixon Singers, from Still Crazy After All These Years; “Spiral Highway” and “All Because of You”, unreleased performances from One Trick Pony; a work-in-progress called “Let Me Live in Your City”, which eventually became the track “Something So Right” from There Goes Rhymin’ Simon; early versions of “The Coast” and “Spirit Voices” from The Rhythm of the Saints; a duet with Jose Feliciano on “Born in Puerto Rico”, plus outtakes from Songs from the Capeman, live cuts from the You’re the One concert tour, and much more.
Produced by Phil Ramone and Paul Simon, with liner notes written by Elvis Costello, So Beautiful or So What (2011) is one of the most highly anticipated albums of the year. Rolling Stone magazine recently declared it, “His best since Graceland,” and National Public Radio affirmed, “. . . his new music balances great poetry and pop. Paul Simon is a national treasure.” In their current issue, Filter magazine calls the new album, “. . . a new masterpiece from the Picasso of music.”