Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel will always be remembered as one of the greatest songwriting duos in popular music. Although their original recording output lasted only for six years, from 1964-1970, the music they have created has influenced songwriters fifty years later. Musicians find their winning formula hard to crack.
Take a look back at what Simon & Garfunkel accomplished in their seemingly short run.
1. Play a lot before recording.
Few music fans know that Simon & Garfunkel were together for almost ten years before reaching success in the mid-sixties. The two went by the names of Tom & Jerry, performing throughout the fifties, but never releasing material. Over the years, the two got to be more comfortable around each other. Later, they started recording more introspective songs.
It is key to work with band members for a while instead of rushing for a great song. Learn about bandmates and fight against immediacy. The longer the band stays together, the more opportunities it has to expand and grow.
It is important for musicians to harmonize, both literally and metaphorically. Find each member’s strengths and bring them out. Paul Simon was known in the duo as the greater songwriter, but Garfunkel was seen as the better singer.
When the duo was in their prime, they understood the roles they needed to play in order to create brilliant music.
3. Become part of a soundtrack.
Although this may take some luck, having music placed in a film or commercial is an incredible opportunity for greater exposure. Being in touch with music supervisors for movies or television shows is a first step to placing new music in a soundtrack.
Simon & Garfunkel had their music play an integral role in one of the most iconic American films of the 1960s, The Graduate.
Study the craft of what made Paul Simon’s incredible lyrics and Art Garfunkel’s sweet voice blend so well. Aspiring musicians can take away how to establish roles within a band, as well as how to bond before sending music out into the world. Spend time with the band and end up releasing great music at a fast rate.
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Will Randick is a blogger and educator working out of the Bay Area.