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Live 1969

Simon & Garfunkel
Live 1969

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1. Homeward Bound
P. Simon – recorded November 13, 1969 – Long Beach Arena, California

2. At The Zoo
P. Simon – recorded November 27, 1969 – Carnegie Hall, New York

3. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)
P. Simon – recorded November 8, 1969 – Carbondale, Illinois

4. Song For The Asking
P. Simon – recorded November 13, 1969 – Long Beach Arena, California

5. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her

P. Simon – recorded circa November, 1969 – St. Louis, Missouri

6. Scarborough Fair/Canticle
P. Simon – A. Garfunkel – recorded November 28, 1969 – Carnegie Hall, New York

7. Mrs. Robinson (From The Motion Picture The Graduate)

P. Simon – recorded November 8, 1969 – Carbondale, Illinois

8. The Boxer
P. Simon – recorded November 13, 1969 – Long Beach Arena, California

9. Why Don’t You Write Me
P. Simon – recorded November 15, 1969 – Long Beach Arena, California

10. So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright
P. Simon – recorded November 8, 1969 – Carbondale, Illinois

11. That Silver-Haired Daddy Of Mine
J. Long – G. Autry – recorded November 15, 1969 – Long Beach Arena, California

12. Bridge Over Troubled Water

P. Simon – recorded November 28, 1969 – Carnegie Hall, New York

13. The Sound Of Silence
P. Simon – recorded November 8, 1969 – Carbondale, Illinois

14. I Am A Rock
P. Simon – recorded November 8, 1969 – Carbondale, Illinois

15. Old Friends/Bookends Theme

P. Simon – recorded November 1, 1969 – Toledo, Ohio

16. Leaves That Are Green
P. Simon – recorded October 31, 1969 – Detroit, Michigan

17. Kathy’s Song
P. Simon – recorded circa November, 1969 – St. Louis, Missouri


Joe Osborn: Bass
Hal Blaine: Drums
Fred Carter, Jr.: Guitar
Larry Knechtel: Keyboards

Produced for Legacy Recordings by Bob Irwin
Mixed and mastered by Vic Anesini at Sony Music Studios, NY
Assistant mix engineer: David Stoller
Legacy A&R: Steve Berkowitz
Project Direction: Lisa Buckler and Jim Parham
Design: Skouras Design, Inc.
Photography: Front cover of Digipak and Booklet, pages 6-7, booklet back cover & inside Digipak (pocket): Frank Driggs Collection; page 3 & inside Digipak (tray): Don Hunstein/Sony BMG Archives; back cove Digipak: Steve Schapiro

Special thanks to: Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel, Eddie Simon, Jeff Kramer, John Scher, Matt Kelly


When Simon & Garfunkel went out on the road in November of 1969 on what would be their last tour together for 13 years, the duo’s popularity rivaled that of the Beatles. Theirs were the quintessential voices of a generation during the second half of the 1960s, as Paul Simon’s cerebral, quietly impassioned songs, which articulated the hopes and fears of his peers in acute detail, spread from college dorm rooms to car radios. You couldn’t turn on a Top 40 station in those days without hearing Simon & Garfunkel’s restrained, elegantly harmonized songs, right alongside the Beatles, the Stones, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, the Four Tops and the Beach Boys. As these unlikely hitmakers were racking up 11 Top 20 singles, including four chart-toppers, scholars debated the merits of Simon’s lyrics as poetry and sociocultural commentary – an extraordinary distinction during an extraordinary decade.

They embarked on the tour soon after completing Bridge Over Troubled Water, the album that would be their crowning glory and biggest seller, but it wouldn’t be released until January 21, 1970, so their sets contained several songs from that album that the fans who packed their shows would be hearing for the first time. People were already thoroughly familiar with one of Bridge’s key songs, though – “The Boxer,” cut early in the album sessions and released as a single back in March, became the latest in S&G’s four-year run of hits, which had begun so auspiciously with “The Sound Of Silence.”

Several shows on the ’69 tour were recorded by their trusted producer/engineer Roy Halee in anticipation of what was earmarked to be their sixth album, the follow-up to Bridge. That live LP never came to be (until now, that is); in fact, there was no follow-up of any kind, mainly because Simon and Garfunkel were in the final months of their partnership. Interestingly, the 17 previously unreleased performances contained on Live 1969 bear no trace of the acrimony that was thought to have accrued as they neared their breakup; all that can be sensed is the comfortable vibe of buddies enjoying the familiar task of working together, with Garfunkel serving as master of ceremonies while Simon took care of the music.

“Paul has more a feel for the stage,” Art Garfunkel has acknowledged, “whereas I have it more for the notes themselves. I love record making and mixing, arranging, producing. That I love. I love to make beautiful things, but I don’t like to perform.” On these final shows, however, Garfunkel, a self-described “studio rat,” comes across as relaxed, gracious and delighted to be sharing the stage with his partner.

Queens natives Simon and Garfunkel had been friends since the sixth grade, and their vocal blend was so tight that it seemed genetic, like that of their primary inspiration, the Everly Brothers, whom they’d mimicked as 16-year olds on the 1957 single “Hey Schoolgirl,” a mid-chart hit released under their early moniker Tom & Jerry. “It’s so easy to sing with Artie,” Simon said in 1975, during one the duo’s intermittent one-off reunion appearances. “It’s something I’d done all my life.” They never sounded any closer than they did in their ’69 sets, as evidenced by the 17 songs gathered on this collection, four apiece from Sounds Of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (both released in 1966), three from Bookends (1968) and five from Bridge. The obvious inspiration for the lone outside selection, the Gene Autry-co-written “That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine,” was the Everlys, who’d sung it on their autobiographical 1958 LP, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us.

They opened their sets as an acoustic duo, as they’d always done, before introducing a new wrinkle to their shows by bringing out all-star support players Hal Blaine (drums), Joe Osborn (bass), Larry Knechtel (keyboards) and Fred Carter, Jr. (guitar). The first three were members of the famed Wrecking Crew, as they came to be known – L.A. session players who’d contributed to classics by the Beach Boys, the Mamas & the Papas, the Monkees and others – while all four musicians had played on the Bridge sessions. After playing the meat of their sets with the band, S&G finished each show by themselves.

Paul and Artie accepted the notion of working with other musicians with some initial reluctance. The only instrument heard on 1964’s Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., the duo’s first album, is Simon’s acoustic guitar – instrumentation enough for the material, a mixture of traditional songs, folk-inspired Simon originals and what turned out to be a prescient cover of Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changin’.” When the album failed to sell, just like the similarly stark debut two years earlier from their Columbia labelmate Dylan, Garfunkel went back to college and Simon went off to England, sitting at the feet of folk guitar masters like Davey Graham, in the process not only gaining great fluency in his fingerpicking but also bringing additional nuance to his songcraft – in essence finding his voice as a writer. These related advances are apparent on pieces like the poignant “Kathy’s Song,” the irony-driven “I Am A Rock” and the elegiac “Leaves That Are Green,” all originally recorded in London for the solo LP The Paul Simon Songbook. Meanwhile, back home in New York, Garfunkel, who had cut his teeth as a singer on the seminal, jazz-inflected harmonies of the Hi-Lo’s and sung in various collegiate ensembles, continued his own musical development with a scholar’s focus.

While Paul and Art were otherwise occupied, the new hybrid folk rock, as some trade writer dubbed it, exploded onto the pop charts, thanks primarily to the Byrds, who scored a massive hit with an electrified version of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and to Dylan himself, who shocked the folk community by strapping on an electric guitar and gathering together a group of rock musicians to join him on the sessions for Highway 61 Revisited, with its zeitgeist-reshaping single “Like A Rolling Stone.”  Both that groundbreaking LP and Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. had been produced by Tom Wilson, and, with folk rock all over the radio, he got the idea of having some of the sidemen from the Highway 61 sessions add electric guitar, bass and drums to “The Sounds Of Silence,” the most resonant original on Simon & Garfunkels’ little-heard first album. The ploy worked beyond Wilson’s wildest dreams, as Columbia released the revamped track in the fall of 1965, and it zoomed up the charts, hitting #1 in the first week of 1966.

Neither Simon nor Garfunkel knew anything about their radically modified piece of music until it was on the radio, and, as delighted as they were to have a hit single, both deeply ambivalent about Wilson’s grafting of other instruments on the original performance. Nonetheless, when the urgent call came from the label to follow up the hit single with an album, S&B had little choice but to go along with the idea of having outside musicians play on some of the tracks. The sessions that resulted in Sounds Of Silence were conducted in a rush, but by the time Simon & Garfunkel reconvened later in ’66 to make Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme, the partners had realized that some of their material – from the wistful “59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” to the anthemic “Homeward Bound” – would be best served by expanded soundscapes, sparingly applied. A year later, the full-on rocker “Mrs. Robinson,” cut for the soundtrack of the film The Graduate, indicated Simon’s dramatically increased comfort level with band settings. That track wound up on Side Two of Bookends, a pastiche of mostly uptempo cuts, and Bridge Over Troubled Water contained the most innovative use of instrumentation Simon, Garfunkel and Halee had yet conceived of, foreshadowing the eclecticism of Simon’s solo career.

The playing of the four support musicians on the ’69 tour – frequently so understated that you feel their presence more than hear it – indicates how finely attuned they were to the needs of the material. That said, it’s remarkable what a full experience S&G provided with nothing more than their voices and Simon’s acoustic guitar, as eloquent in its way as his lyrics, vividly evidenced by the first and last sections of their shows as documented on Live 1969. Simon remains one of the most underrated guitarists of the rock era, although anyone who has attempted to pick along with his parts on record will readily attest to his subtle virtuosity.  “I can’t play fast; that’s the only thing I can say about it,” he offered self-effacingly in 2006. “But aside from that, I compensate by having a kind of idiosyncratic style, a certain way of playing that comes from me compensating for what I can’t play by playing what I can play, carefully.” The delicately filigreed lines of “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” or “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” or “Old Friends” demonstrate the degree to which Simon’s playing is integrated with his writing. The same can be said of Garfunkel’s artfully filigreed vocal parts, whose profound impact belted their silken subtlety.

In what is clearly on of the highlights of the tour, Garfunkel sang the now-indelible lyrics of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” accompanied only by Knechtel’s gospel-inflected piano. When the song ended, a hush inevitably fell over the concertgoers at each show before they exploded in a standing ovation, clearly moved by what they’d just experienced. It was a moment that none of those who witnessed these shows will ever forget. Like the Beatles'' “Hey Jude” and “All You Need Is Love,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water” offered a balm of hope to a world sorely in need of just that.

The performances on Live 1969, culled from shows recorded at New York’s Carnegie Hall, the Long Beach Arena, Toledo, Detroit, St. Louis and Carbondale, Illinois, were impeccably recorded, and that is a good thing indeed, because Simon & Garfunkel were in absolute peak form at the time, their imminent estrangement notwithstanding. Not only that but, for the first time – in contrast to Live From New York City, 1967 (released on Columbia/Legacy in 2007) – they had their entire body of work to draw from, and their set lists formed a seamless continuum of shimmering modern-day standards, sounding to those who were there like the soundtrack to their own lives. “To me, everything’s attached,” Simon says now of the underlying cohesiveness of his songwriting. “Every piece of work that I’ve done is attached to the last piece and connects to the following piece. That’s the journey. I’ve never made a decision to break that chain, or to follow any style or trend, or to pursue a hit. I’ve just followed wherever that path was gonna go.”

And for a long and fruitful time, Garfunkel was on that path alongside his friend and collaborator, sharing in the achievement and the legacy. “They were fabulous years,” Garfunkel has said of the duo’s run. “I’m proud to be singing those great songs. Now they teach Paul Simon songs in churches and schools as part of the curricula…it seems that part of good citizenship is the knowledge of the songs we did. How can I grasp that?”

By the same token, how can Garfunkel possibly grasp the alchemy his finely nuanced vocal contribution brought to his friends songs, rendering them that much more indelible by way of his inimitably artful singing? They were some pair, those two.

From the palpable warmth of these shows, radiating from the stage to the audiences and back again, it seems hard to believe that their run of concerts coincided with the Rolling Stones now-infamous ’69 tour, which culminated in the violence of Altamont. But this was a time of great extremes, a tumultuous era in which moments of great elation, displayed in epochal events like the Woodstock Festival and the first moon landing, coexisted with violent political upheaval, the deepening of anguish of Vietnam, and frequently the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy and the Manson family’s murderous rampage. In short, it was an era similar in many ways to the one we’re now living through. We needed Simon & Garfunkel then, and we could very much use their equivalent now, nearly 40 years later.

 – Bud Scoppa, July, 2007

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