Paul Frederic Simon, who was born in Newark, New Jersey, has had over four decades of musical success and acclaim, starting in 1965 as one half of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with Art Garfunkel.
Simon wrote most of their songs, including three that reached number one on the US singles charts, "The Sound of Silence," "Mrs. Robinson," and "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Paul's father, Louis Simon, was a college professor, bassist, and dance bandleader who performed under the name "Lee Sims." He was one of the first musicians on radio when he lived in Hungary. In 1941 his family moved to Kew Garden Hills, Queens in New York City.
Simon's serious musical interest began in Forest Hills, New York after meeting Art Garfunkel when they were both 11. They performed in a production of Alice in Wonderland for their sixth grade graduation, and began singing together as a duo two years later, performing at school dances. They modeled themselves after the Everly Brothers.
In 1957, they recorded "Hey, Schoolgirl" under the name Tom and Jerry, which reached number forty-nine on the pop charts. Two years later they recorded "Baby Talk." (See Videos.)
After graduating from high school, Simon attended Queens College, while Garfunkel studied at Columbia University. Simon earned a degree in English literature and briefly attended Brooklyn Law School before deciding to devote himself completely to music. Between 1957 and 1964, Simon wrote, recorded, and released more than thirty songs, occasionally teaming up with Garfunkel as Tom & Jerry.
After five years as Simon & Garfunkle, the duo split-up, and Simon began a successful solo career, recording three highly-acclaimed albums over the next five years. In 1986, he released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music that helped fuel the anti-apartheid movement.
Through his solo and collaborative work, Simon has earned 13 Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2006 was selected as one of the "100 People Who Shaped the World" by Time magazine.
Among many other honors, Simon was named the first recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007.
Besides music, Simon wrote and starred in the film One Trick Pony in 1980 and co-wrote the Broadway musical The Capeman in 1998.
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