My back story for this song is off-the-cuff and purely from memory with zero fact checking, so if it’s wrong just bite me daddio. That’s right you bamboozlin hepcat. Bite me! Like a Mars bar!!! (I have absolutely no idea what I just said or what it means – forgive me)
Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway (unusually bad start – Christ!?)
So now the strange pleasantries are dispensed with, I can tell you about the song.
I love this song – just love the poetry, love how it sounds; but moreover I love the back story. As I recall it at any rate, and if that’s wrong well we both know what happens next – THAT’S RIGHT! – don’t make me take off my sunglasses you big raspberry gazer! (again, no idea)
So if you’ll let me, I’ll continue. Thank you. No really, you’re too kind.
As we know Simon and Garfunkel were a sublime popular folk duo who took the 60s by storm both sides of the Atlantic. They left us a legacy of beyayoootifull music. When I stumbled on their work in the record library back when I was fifteen, it took my head clean off and I’ve been in love with it ever since.
Bridge Over Troubled Water was an album which I didn’t warm to at first, but it really grew on me with every listen. So many great songs, the eponymous Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Boxer, El Condor Pasa, and this little velociraptor in a sheep’s clothing.
I can’t furnish you with the dates you sonofabitch(sorry, that was uncalled for in retrospect. I’m in a saucy mood and I make no excuses for it. I shall NOT take it back Sir. Nay! I said NAAAAAYYYYY!!!!!)
So no dates(seriously if you will keep interrupting me like this you’re going to turn a compact little caramel post into a thorny bloody NIGHTMARE. That’s all I’m saying. It’s your time you’re wasting. I can happily sit here marking books all day long. (what?))
Anyway, dates aside, at some point Art Garfunkel got a hankering to make movies. He was in one with Jack Nicholson about dating. The name is on the tip of my damn tongue but it’s momentarily eluding me – grrrrr – stupid tongue!
I’m sure he was in others too but the one we’re interested in here for the purposes of this here post de blog(that’s French for blog post – de rien(that’s French for you’re welcome(I could go on))) is Catch 22 – a veritable treasure trove of a movie directed by Mike Nichols (The Graduate) from an outstanding book of the same name by Joseph Heller.
Well Art Garfunkel got a shot at acting in this film while they were working on their next album – Bridge Over Troubled Water – and dropped everything to fly down to Mexico(doubling for Sicily in the film) to commence filming.
I’m going to over-simplify this next part but it’s all I’ve got: Paul Simon felt betrayed by his sudden abdication and this song was the embodiment of the hurt he felt, left holding the baby.
In case you’re wondering how any of this translates to the wording of the song, Tom in the song is Art Garfunkel. The duo started out performing under the name Tom and Jerry.
The ensuing bitterness spelt the beginning of the end for the beautiful duo, though as with all such things, a little time and inclement solo circumstances healed the rift enough to reunite them for later tours.
So without further to do, here’s Simon and Garfunkel with The Only Living Boy in New York: