It was 53 years ago this week (March 7th to 13th, 1970) that Simon & Garfunkel’s final studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, began it’s 10-consecutive-week run on top the Billboard 200. The collection, which was the band’s fifth and final set, displaced Led Zeppelin‘s Led Zeppelin III from the top spot.
Bridge Over Troubled Water was released on January 26th, 1970 and spawned four Top 20 singles — “The Boxer” (Number Seven) — which pre-dated the album by 10 months; “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Number One); “Cecilia” (Number Four); and “El Condor Pasa (If I Could)” (Number 18).
The album enjoyed an 85-week stay on the chart and has been certified eight times platinum for sales of eight million units.
The tracklisting to Bridge Over Troubled Water is: “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “El Condor Pasa (If I Could),” “Cecilia,” “Keep The Customer Satisfied,” “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright,” “The Boxer,” “Baby Driver,” “The Only Living Boy In New York,” “Why Don’t You Write Me,” “Bye Bye Love,” and “Song For The Asking.”
“Bridge Over Troubled Water” won six Grammy Awards in 1971: Record Of The Year; Song Of The Year; Best Contemporary Song; Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s); and Best Engineered Recording; with the Bridge Over Troubled Water album snagging the coveted prize for Album Of The Year.
Art Garfunkel recalled how the album’s title track was tapped for single release, going on to top the singles charts for six straight weeks: “You always knew the animal called ‘the single,’ and you knew what was an album piece that was really happening. This seemed the latter. As a single — too slow, too long. Clive Davis came in the studio, President of CBS, and said, ‘No, I wanna get behind it all the way. It’s the title of your album. It is the first single. Be unapologetic about such a slow song, ’cause I’m gonna get behind it with faith.’” SOUUNDCUE
Paul Simon recently broke down the magic behind Simon & Garfunkel’s classic sound: “With Simon & Garfunkel, we would sing a take together on mic — on one mic. And when we got the take that we wanted, then we would double it individually. I would sing my part individually on mic, and Artie would sing his individually on mic. And when you combine them together, and they would be, y’know, perfectly in sync; that’s what Simon & Garfunkel sounded like. That’s what the sound was.”
Out now is the digital EP, Simon & Garfunkel – Live At Carnegie Hall 1969. The newly-released tracks have been issued in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the duo’s final album, the chart-topping Bridge Over Troubled Water, which dropped on January 26th, 1970.
According to the press release, “Recorded in November 1969 during a sold-out two-night run at New York’s Carnegie Hall, this new four-song EP captures Simon & Garfunkel’s live magic at the height of the folk-rock duo’s massive popular success. (The collection) includes previously-unreleased early live versions of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ ‘So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright,’ ‘The Boxer’ and ‘Song For The Asking.’ The recordings from Carnegie Hall capture early performances of songs that Simon & Garfunkel were introducing in concert to their fans.”
Coincidentally, the Carnegie Hall tracks — which were recorded on November 27th and 28th, 1969 — were taped on the very same nights the Rolling Stones were performing at Madison Square Garden and taping their legendary Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out live collection.