Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970)

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 By: Simon and Garfunkel.

Paul Simon (born Paul Frederic Simon October 13, 1941 in Newark Heights, New Jersey) and Art Garfunkel (born Arthur Ira Garfunkel November 5, 1941 in Queens, New York) met in the sixth grade in 1953, when they appeared in a school play of Alice in Wonderland with Simon as the White Rabbit and Garfunkel as the Cheshire Cat.

They released their first, "Hey, Schoolgirl" (#49 US) while still in their teens, in 1957. They changed their name to Simon and Garfunkel in 1963.

In 2004, Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them #40 on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" was recorded for their last album of the same name, which is the biggest selling album ever released by Columbia Records. Musicians who played on the song include Larry Knechtel (who also played bass on The Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man" and later formed the band Bread) on piano and Hal Blaine on drums, which were recorded in an echo chamber, with a tape-reverb that made gave an afterbeat effect. Garfunkel sang the lead vocal.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water" won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1971, while the album won for Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording.

In 1999, BMI ranked "Bridge Over Troubled Water" at #19 on their list of Top 100 Songs of the century (based on American radio and television airplay). In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine ranked it #47 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Chart position:
#1 (US, six weeks), #1 (UK).

It was preceded at #1 in the US by "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/"Everybody Is a Star" (Sly and the Family Stone) and succeeded by "Let It Be" (The Beatles), also written as a comforting song in turbulent times.

The Top Ten Songs: March 14, 1970 (US Billboard Hot 100).
  1. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (Simon & Garfunkel)
  2. "Travelin' Band/Who'll Stop The Rain" (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  3. "The Rapper" (Jaggerz)
  4. "Rainy Night In Georgia" (Brook Benton)
  5. "Ma Belle Amie" (Tee Set)
  6. "Give Me Just A Little More Time" (Chairmen of the Board)
  7. "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)"/"Everybody Is a Star" (Sly and the Family Stone)
  8. "Hey There Lonely Girl" (Eddie Holman)
  9. "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" (Hollies)
  10. "Evil Ways" (Santana)

Written by:
Paul Simon.

Simon wrote many songs, including "The Sound of Silence", "I Am A Rock", "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme", "Homeward Bound", "Mrs. Robinson", "The Boxer", "Mother And Child Reunion", "Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard", "Kodachrome", "Loves Me Like Rock", "American Tune", "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover", "Still Crazy After All These Years", "Slip Slidin' Away", "You Can Call Me Al", "Graceland", "Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes", "Born at the Right Time", and "Father and Daughter" (nominated for an Oscar in 2002.)

Simon wrote the song in California, in a rented summer house (in which George Harrison wrote the Beatles song "Blue Jay Way" in 1967.)

Simon was inspired to write by gospel singing group The Swan Silvertones' 1959 hit "Oh, Mary Don't You Weep," which contained the line, "I'll be a bridge over deep water, if you trust in my name".

He wrote "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on guitar in the key of G, but gave it to pianist Larry Knechtel to transpose to E flat and arrange the piano part. Only two verses had been written, but in the studio, Simon asked Knechtel to play a third verse, even though he hadn't written it yet.

Paul Simon later said, "I always felt that you could clearly see that it was written afterwards. It just doesn't sound like the first two verses." The third verse was about his girlfriend, Peggy Harper, as a joke, because she was upset one day when she had found a few gray hairs on her head.

Also by: Aretha Franklin, whose 1971 gospel-inspired live version won a Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance; Elvis Presley, whose version appeared on his 1970 album That's The Way It Is; Johnny Cash, as a duet with Fiona Apple, whose version appeared on his 2002 album American IV: The Man Comes Around (#2 US Country), which was the last album Cash released during his lifetime, and his first album in 30 years to sell over 500,000 copies; Clay Aiken, whose version reached #1 in Canada in 2003.

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