Only six years separate Simon & Garfunkel’s debut album from their last studio LP, A bridge over troubled waters. The Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel duo would meet half a dozen times later, but they never expanded their catalog.
Despite this relatively short career, Simon & Garfunkel is one of the most frequently repeated groups in the history of popular music. As a result, many listeners were introduced to writing Paul Simon songs through another artist.
I think here of how a new generation fell in love with ‘Mrs. Robinson thanks to the 1992 version of Lemonheads. Or how rebellious skate punks frequently rocked on Bodyjar’s “Hazy Shade of Winter” in the early 2000s. Or how the neo-folk movement of the late 2000s sparked renewed interest in America through the Swedish duo First Aid Kit.
In honor of the band’s continued relevance, here are ten of Simon & Garfunkel’s most memorable covers.
‘Mrs. Robinson ‘by the Lemonheads:
‘Mrs. Robinson ‘appeared on the soundtrack of the 1968 film The graduation. 24 years later, the Lemonheads reached the top 20 ARIA with their version of the song. Despite his success, Lemonheads frontman Evan Dando complaints hate the song, and Paul Simon.
Bodyjar’s “Hazy Shade of Winter”:
“Hazy Shade of Winter” was covered by artists like The Bangles and Gerard Way, but it was also a major triple J hit for Melbourne pop punk group Bodyjar in 1999. The Lightfoot original was released in standalone single in 1966., but Bodyjar’s version dramatically increases the tempo.
Aretha Franklin’s “Bridge over Troubled Waters”:
Give Aretha any song and she’ll likely improve on the original. The Queen of Soul recorded a cover of the title track from Simon & Garfunkel’s latest record just 12 months after its release. Her gospel-influenced version was so good that she appeared on a Biggest Hits release the same year (1971).
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“The Song of Kathy” by Westerman:
London-based indie pop singer-songwriter Westerman achieves a rare feat by making “Kathy’s Song” his own, while retaining all the charm of the original. ‘Kathy’s Song’ appeared on Simon & Garfunkel’s second album The sounds of silence in 1966, while Westerman’s version was released in 2019.
“The Boxer” by Emmylou Harris:
Bob Dylan covered “The Boxer” on his much-maligned double LP Self-portrait. It’s tempting to include it here, and Dylan and Simon even performed the song together live (with mixed results). But it’s hard to look past the version of Emmylou Harris, who appeared on his 1980 LP. Roses in the snow.
Chromatics’ “The Sound of Silence”:
‘The Sound of Silence’ was the groundbreaking single from Simon & Garfunkel. He first appeared on their debut album Wednesday morning, 3 a.m. like “The sounds of silence”. The album is a flop and the duo go their separate ways. However, they were forced to regroup once the track started airing on the radio. He eventually went number one and inspired their second album, The sounds of silence. The basic melodies of the song are beautifully rendered in this version by Chromatics, which opens their 2019 album, Closer to gray.
“I am a rock” by Red House Painters:
Mark Kozelek is known as one of the most cantankerous figures in indie rock. But before embarking on a solo career (often under the nickname Sun Kil Moon), Kozelek led the San Francisco slowcore group Red House Painters. It was in this capacity that he delivered a magnificent and elegant version of the 1965 single “I Am A Rock” by S&G.
‘7 O’Clock News / Silent Night’ by Phoebe Bridgers feat. Fiona Apple and Matt Berninger:
‘7 O’Clock News / Silent Night’ was a sound collage exercise that appeared on S & G’s third album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. It does exactly what it says on the box, pairing a recording of the Christmas carol “Silent Night” with a newsletter from August 3, 1966. The 2019 version of Phoebe Bridgers follows suit, although it s Actually, The National’s Matt Berninger impersonates a news reader.
Glen Campbell’s Homeward Bound:
Damn, Glen Campbell sounds great here. This is one of those overly cheerful songs by Paul Simon that could easily distract listeners. But Campbell – who looks like Harry Nilsson – brings an extra dose of grace to the debates.
“America” by first aid kit:
By the time they released their version of “America”, Stockholm’s Klara and Johanna Söderberg were world famous for their close harmonies and easy-to-listen covers. “America” has taken things to new heights, however, and even got a sign of approval by Simon.