Video of the Week: The Story of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’

From the 2011 documentary The Harmony Game. Reflections on the making of Simon & Garfunkel’s classic Bridge Over Troubled Water album 40 years after its release. The above excerpt relates the origin and recording of the transcendent title track.

This Day in Music: Simon & Garfunkel Record ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’


(via This Day in Music)

simonIt’s one of those songs, isn’t it? A timeless classic which can still, to this day, send a shiver down the spine. The single won the Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year in 1971.

Paul Simon wrote the song while his partner Art Garfunkel was filming in Europe for the black comedy Catch-22 that starred Alan Arkin. The duo were coming to the end of their relatively short career, tensions were high, and by the time their fifth and final studio album was in the charts, Simon and Garfunkel were no longer.

Paul Simon told Rolling Stone in 1972 that he now regrets his insistence that Art Garfunkel sing this song as a solo, as it focused attention on Garfunkel and relegated Simon to a secondary position. Art initially did not want to sing the lead vocal, feeling it was not right for him, stating that Simon should have sung the song. But after all these years, as a listener, you can’t imagine anyone else but Art singing this beautiful song.

When Simon first presented the song to Garfunkel it had just two verses and the singer suggested Simon pen another verse, which he did. The final verse was written about Simon’s then-wife Peggy Harper, who had noticed her first gray hairs, inspiring the line, “Sail on, silver girl.” The first two verses had been recorded in New York and the final new verse was laid down in a studio in Los Angles…

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