Feelin' grumpy: why Art Garfunkel just can't get along with Paul Simon

The singer has let rip at his old friend (again). Perhaps the sound of silence would have been better?

Name: Art Garfunkel.

Age: 73.

Appearance: Dandelion seed head, after three good blows.

Occupation: Singer, bitter old man.

Bitter about what? Paul Simon, mostly.

Still? After all these years? It would seem so. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph he said that, by being nice to Paul Simon, he had “created a monster”.

A hugely gifted, critically acclaimed, universally well-regarded, 12-Grammy-winning monster. That’s the guy.

Is that really what Garfunkel meant to say? I know how these things can be taken out of context and twisted. He claimed he felt sorry for Simon because he was short, and befriended him as a compensation. “And that compensation gesture created a monster. End of interview.”

Not much room for a generous interpretation of that. No. Of Simon’s ongoing reluctance to reunite professionally, he said: “How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What’s going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?”

He and Simon go back a long way, don’t they? They had their first hit together, as Tom and Jerry, in 1957, and went on to score a string a mega-hits before splitting up in 1970.

Art Garfunkel
Art Garfunkel: back to his old self. Photograph: Startraks Photo/REX Shutterstock

I guess if I owed my whole career to someone else’s immense song-writing talent, I would be bitter too. The thing is, Garfunkel has plenty of other strings to his bow. He has had solo hits, and he’s given creditable acting performances in films including Carnal Knowledge and Bad Timing.

Versatile. Yup. At the height of his fame in the 1970s, he even did a stint as a maths teacher.

And he does have that angelic singing voice. He did until he was afflicted with a paresis of the vocal cords in 2010 that left him unable to sing a note.

How terrible. But he is largely back to his old self these days, and is touring the UK in September.

Sounds as if things are looking up. What’s he got to be so grumpy about?

It seems that is just what he’s like. At the height of his vocal troubles he said: “If I can’t sing, I’m just an asshole.”

Do say: “Whoo-hoo! We love you, Art! Do Bright Eyes!

Don’t say: “Now you’re an asshole who can sing.”

The GuardianTramp

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