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Paul Simon Biography


Home > Music > S > Simon, Paul > Biography


Birth Name: Paul Frederic Simon
Born: 1941/10/13
Birth Place: Newark, New Jersey, United States
Years Active: 1957–present
Genres: Folk Rock, Folk-pop, Rock, World


Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter from Kew Garden Hills, Queens in New York City.

He is known for his success, beginning in 1965, as part of the duo Simon & Garfunkel, with musical partner Art Garfunkel. Simon wrote most of the pair's songs, including three that reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singles chart, “The Sound of Silence,” “Mrs. Robinson” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

In 1970, at the height of their popularity, the duo split, and Simon began a successful solo career, recording three highly-acclaimed albums over the next five years. “Paul Simon,” featuring “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,” was released in 1972 and reached #4 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. In 1986, it was certified platinum.

“There Goes Rhymin' Simon” reached #2 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1973. The album featured “Kodachrome,” which reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, “Loves Me Like a Rock” also a #2 single and the Top 40 hit, “American Tune.”

“Still Crazy After All These Years” released in 1975, produced four Top 40 hits, “Gone at Last” at #2, “My Little Town” at #9, “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” at #1 and the title track at #40. The album reached #1 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart.

In 1986, he released “Graceland,” an album inspired by South African township music that helped fuel the anti-apartheid movement. It was a hit reaching #3 on the Billboard 200. The album won the 1986 Grammy Award for Album of the Year, while the title song won the 1987 Grammy for Record of the Year. In 2006, the album was added to the United States National Recording Registry. It received a certification of 5× platinum by the RIAA and eventually sold over 14 million copies, making it the singer's most commercially successful album. The album featured such songs as “Graceland,” “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes,” ”You Can Call Me Al” and “Under African Skies.”

“Rhythm of the Saints” followed in 1990 and peaked at #4 on the Billboard 200. The album featured the lead single, “The Obvious Child,” and was later certified 2× platinum by the RIAA.

Besides music, Simon wrote and starred in the film “One Trick Pony” in 1980 and co-wrote the Broadway musical “The Capeman” in 1998.

“You're the One,” Simon’s 10th solo studio album, was released in 2000. It was certified gold and reached #19 on the Billboard 200, marking his first Top 20 album in a decade. The album was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2001, with Simon becoming the first artist to be nominated in that category in five consecutive decades (1960s-2000s).

He released “Surprise” in 2006 and debuted at #14 on the Billboard 200. “Surprise” production and composition assistance from Brian Eno and featured the single, “Father and Daughter.” “Father and Daughter” became the theme song for the animated children's movie “The Wild Thornberrys Movie,” and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.

Simon returned in 2011 with, “So Beautiful or So What,” reaching #4 on the Billboard 200 - his highest debut to date. It also became his first album to reach the Top 5 of that chart since 1990’s “Rhythm of the Saints.” Edie Brickell, Simon’s wife of over 18 years, contributed background vocals on the album, which was her first appearance on one of Simon’s releases.

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. Among many other honors, Simon was named the first recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007.