Tag Archives: Simon and Garfunkel

Happy New Year Happy New Music

Happy New Year Happy New Music

The 1960s was a great decade for January music

John Coltrane’s Giant Steps

In January 1960: John Coltrane released his “Giant Steps” album, considered a classic jazz album and one that saxophonists still measure themselves by today. Linsey Planer at AllMusic.com writesHistory will undoubtedly enshrine this disc as a watershed the likes of which may never truly be appreciated. Giant Steps bore the double-edged sword of furthering the cause of the music as well as delivering it to an increasingly mainstream audience.”

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Two Steps from the Blues Bobby “Blue” Bland

In January 1961: Bobby Blue Bland released Two Steps from the Blues album. Bland was an original member of the Beale Streeters and was sometimes referred to as the “Lion of the Blues”. Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the blues and R&B. An imitator of Frank Sinatra, he was also known as the “Sinatra of the blues”, his music being influenced by Nat King Cole. Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.

Bob Dylan and John Birch

In January 1962 Bob Dylan wrote  “Talkin’ John Birch Paranoid Blues

Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
I didn’t know what in the world I wus gonna do
Them Communists they wus comin’ around
They wus in the air
They wus on the ground
They wouldn’t gimme no peace . . . So I run down most hurriedly
And joined up with the John Birch Society
I got me a secret membership card
And started off a-walkin’ down the road
Yee-hoo, I’m a real John Bircher now!
Look out you Commies! Now we all agree with Hitler’s views
Although he killed six million Jews
It don’t matter too much that he was a Fascist
At least you can’t say he was a Communist!
That’s to say like if you got a cold you take a shot of malaria Well, I wus lookin’ everywhere for them gol-darned Reds
I got up in the mornin’ ’n’ looked under my bed
Looked in the sink, behind the door
Looked in the glove compartment of my car
Couldn’t find ’em . . . I wus lookin’ high an’ low for them Reds everywhere
I wus lookin’ in the sink an’ underneath the chair
I looked way up my chimney hole
I even looked deep down inside my toilet bowl
They got away . . .
Well, I wus sittin’ home alone an’ started to sweat
Figured they wus in my T.V. set
Peeked behind the picture frame
Got a shock from my feet, hittin’ right up in the brain
Them Reds caused it!
I know they did . . . them hard-core ones Well, I quit my job so I could work all alone
Then I changed my name to Sherlock Holmes
Followed some clues from my detective bag
And discovered they wus red stripes on the American flag!
Ol’ Betsy Ross . . . Well, I investigated all the books in the library
Ninety percent of ’em gotta be throwed away
I investigated all the people that I knowed
Ninety-eight percent of them gotta go
The other two percent are fellow Birchers . . . just like me Now Eisenhower, he’s a Russian spy
Lincoln, Jefferson and that Roosevelt guy
To my knowledge there’s just one man
That’s really a true American: George Lincoln Rockwell
I know for a fact he hates Commies cus he picketed the movie Exodus Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
When I run outa things to investigate
Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
So now I’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself!
Hope I don’t find out nothing . . . good God!

Beatles audition

January 1, 1962: The Beatles and Brian Poole and the Tremeloes both auditioned at Decca Records, a company which has the option of signing one group only. Decca told The Beatles that “guitar groups” were on the way out and did not offer them a contract and signed The Tremeloes instead. Other record companies turned the Beatles down as well. One of the songs the Beatles sang was Hello Little Girl, the first song written by John Lennon (in 1957).

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Beatles tour Scotland

January 1, 1963, The Beatles began a concert tour of Scotland.

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Albert Ayler

January Music et al

In January 1965: Albert Ayler’s Spiritual Unity album released. “Ayler was among the most primal of the free jazz musicians of the 1960s; critic John Litweiler wrote that ‘never before or since has there been such naked aggression in jazz.’ He possessed a deep blistering tone—achieved by using the stiff plastic Fibrecane no. 4 reeds on his tenor saxophone—and used a broad, pathos-filled vibrato.” (AllMusic Review by Steve Huey)

Sounds of Silence

January 1 – 7, 1966: “The Sounds of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. (see Wednesday Morning 3am)

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Roots of Rock

January 1, 1967: FM stations were no longer allowed to simply simulcast their AM counterpart. Birth of “underground “ rock radio.

John Lennon/FBI

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In January 1972: the Federal Bureau of Investigation opened a file on John Lennon and Yoko Ono fearing they would organize the youth vote and prevent a second term for President Richard Nixon. (see Feb 4)

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John and Yoko

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In January 1975: John and Yoko reunited after 18 month separation—the so-called “Lost Weekend.” (see Jan 9)

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New Year New Music, New Year New Music, New Year New Music, 

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Wednesday Morning 3am

Wednesday Morning 3am

Simon and Garfunkel

Released October 19, 1964


1964 v 1965

What is the difference between 1964 and 1965? Listen to the 1964 “Sound of Silence” on Simon and Garfunkel’s debut album, Wednesday Morning 3AM. 

Then listen to Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson’s 1965 overdubbed revamped version re-released on Simon and Garfunel’s Sounds of Silence album and you hear what that difference is.

When Simon and Garfunkel recorded Wednesday Morning 3am Beatlemania has just blossomed in the USA and Bob Dylan the folk singer still the pied piper for future folk singers.

Hey Schoolgirl

Wednesday Morning 3am

School friends and Everly Brothers-inspired, Simon and Garfunkel were aspiring folk singers. In 1957 they’d had had minor success as Tom and Jerry singing “Hey Schoolgirl” written by Jerry Landis and Tommy Graph

He Was My Brother

The song that caught Tom Wilson's ear was Paul Simon's "He Was My Brother." Andrew Goodman was one of the young men that the Ku Klux Klan killed on June 21, 1964. Goodman had also been a classmate of Simon and Garfunkel.  [see Freedom Summer]

Like most folk albums of the time, it was acoustic:
  • Paul Simon – acoustic guitar, banjo on “Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream”, vocals
  • Barry Kornfeld – acoustic guitar
  • Bill Lee – acoustic bass
     And since the Beatles were dominating the music of 1964 [the Beatles had had five #1 songs that year], the album had no commercial success.

Paul Simon went to England to pursue a solo career. Art Garfunkel returned to Columbia to pursue his studies.

Tom Wilson did it

Until Tom Wilson. Tom Wilson was one of Columbia Records main producers. He'd produced Dylan's break-out electric album, Bringing' It All Back Home. Bob wasn't working on Maggie's farm no more. Wilson gathered a few electric musicians and overdubbed "Sounds of Silence."

That version is the version we are mainly familiar with. The electric version. The version with drums.

 The song, as we already know, became a huge hit. One of the biggest songs in the American songbook and is included in the  National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress.

Wednesday Morning 3am

 With the success of the single, the due reformed and recorded The Sounds of Silence album. Recorded in the middle of 1965 and released in early 1966. Its success led to fans noticing their Wednesday Morning 3am. 

     Here are the track listings for the album:
  • You Can Tell the World
  • Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
  • Bleeker Street*
  • Sparrow*
  • Benedictus
  • The Sound of Silence*
  • He Was My Brother*
  • Peggy O
  • Go Tell It on the Mountain
  • The Sun is Burning
  • The Times They Are a-Changin
  • Wednesday Morning 3am*
The asterisk indicates Paul Simon (aka Paul Kane) compositions. Like many upcoming artists who became famous because of their compostional genius, Simon was still on a learning curve.

Columbia Records staff photographer Henry Parker had taken the album's cover photo on the lower subway platform at Fifth Avenue and 53rd Street, New York City. Art Garfunkel  has related that during the photo session many of pictures Parker took were unusable due to the "old familiar suggestion" on the wall.  Those type of graffiti inspired Paul Simon to write the song "A Poem on the Underground Wall" for the duo's later Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme album.

Here's is AllMusic's current review of Wednesday Morning 3 AM.
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