Simon and Garfunkel doesn't seem to be a name that needs any explanation. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. But they were originally known as the duo "Tom and Jerry."
They formed the group Tom and Jerry in 1957 and had their first success with the minor hit "Hey, Schoolgirl".
The two were friends through childhood, and grew up in Forest Hills, Queens, New York, just blocks away from each other. They met in elementary school in 1953, when they both appeared in the school play Alice in Wonderland (Simon as the White Rabbit, Garfunkel as the Cheshire Cat).
They were classmates at Parsons Junior High School and Forest Hills High School, and began performing together in their junior year as Tom and Jerry, with Simon as Jerry Landis (whose last name he borrowed from a girl he had been dating) and Garfunkel as Tom Graph (so called because he was fond of tracking or "graphing" hits on the pop charts.
Tom and Jerry was also known at the time as the name of a popular cartoon duo and animated show.
They began writing their own songs in 1955, and made their first professional recording, "Hey, Schoolgirl", for Sid Prosen of Big Records in 1957.
It was released on 45 rpm and 78 rpm vinyl records, with the flip-side song "Dancin' Wild." The recording sold 100,000 copies and hit #49 on the Billboard Magazine charts.
These early songs were heavily influenced by The Everly Brothers.
They got to perform their hit on TV's American Bandstand, right after Jerry Lee Lewis performed "Great Balls of Fire".
However, they weren't as successful after that initial rush. After high school, the duo went to separate colleges - Simon at Queens College and Garfunkel at Columbia University. But they stayed close.
With Simon continuing to write and perform, by 1963, they had established themselves as Simon and Garfunkel (always using the & i place of and) as part of the Greenwich Village folk music scene.
Three of Simon's songs - "Sparrow", "Bleecker Street", and "He Was My Brother" are typical of that period.
"He Was My Brother" was later dedicated to Andrew Goodman, a friend of both Simon and Garfunkel and a classmate of Simon's at Queens College, who was one of three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi, on June 21, 1964.
Those were three of the five original songs by Simon that were on their first album for Columbia Records, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which initially sold very poorly when it was released in October 1964.
But fame came quickly in 1965 with the the hit single "The Sound of Silence" and then the first album went out to good sales too.
They are well known for their close vocal harmonies and were among the most popular recording artists of the 1960s. Their biggest hits from five original album includes: "The Sound of Silence", "Bridge over Troubled Water", "I Am a Rock", "Homeward Bound", "A Hazy Shade of Winter", "Mrs. Robinson", "The Boxer", "Cecilia", and "Scarborough Fair/Canticle."
Many other compilations, live albums and special editions of their music have been released since they dissolved the duo in 1970. Yes, they have reunited several times since, but have both continued solo careers.
They have received several Grammys and were inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990.
Paul Simon has released continued to record and perform and win Grammy Awards.
His first solo release - simply called Paul Simon - was released in 1972.
Some of his most popular albums are Still Crazy After All These Years, There Goes Rhymin' Simon and Graceland.
Paul's official site is http://www.paulsimon.com
Art Garfunkel went on to make several films including Carnal Knowledge (with Jack Nicholson), Catch-22 and Bad Timing.
He has released solo albums in a more pop vocal style. Some of his popular albums are Breakaway, Angel Clare, Watermark, and Fate for Breakfast and collections such as Playlist: The Very Best of Art Garfunkel.
He has also published Still Water: Prose Poems.
Artie's official site is http://www.artgarfunkel.com
In March 2010, Simon and Garfunkel announced a 13-date spring tour, to kick off in April with a performance at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. That tour was rescheduled to start in July, but in June 2010, they canceled the tour as Garfunkel continues to recover from a vocal cord paresis.
Best of Simon & Garfunkel
Bridge Over Troubled Water (40th Anniversary Edition) (1 CD/1 DVD)
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Sounds of Silence
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Live From New York City, 1967
Simon and Garfunkel - The Concert in Central Park (video)
Concert In Central Park/20 Greatest Hits
Simon & Garfunkel - Old Friends, Live on Stage
Simon and Garfunkel: Old Friends : A Dual Biography