The last Simon & Garfunkel studio album came out in 1970, just under six years after their debut. Once again working with producer Roy Halee, the album starts off with the iconic title track. A dramatic opening sounds almost like a Christmas carol in its hymn like devotion. Art Garfunkel’s performance soars as strings and cymbals crashing come up to meet him. This is pop music at its highest form.
Beyond the title track, the next two songs were also singles. “El Condo Pasa (If I Could)” has a folky, Spanish feel that hit #1 in several countries. A memorable drumbeat opens “Cecilia”. The infectious track will eventually end up on many party playlists and remains one of the duo’s most popular songs. At the opposite end of the spectrum, “The Boxer” has a softer drumbeat where Paul Simon sings “lie la lie”, that acts as a hook but was originally in the song as filler. The epic track follows the story of a boy who leaves home, “seeking out the poorer quarters, where the ragged people go” before becoming the boxer.
“So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright” came about when Garfunkel asked to have a song written about the famous architect. A laid-back tune that can double as an allusion to Garfunkel having studied to be an architect in his earlier days. One of the duo’s most popular album tracks appears on the second half of the album, “The Only Living Boy in New York” is one of the most emotionally charged songs in the catalogue. Simon sings “Tom, get your plane right on time/I know your part’ll go fine”, a direct comment that Garfunkel was off filming a movie in Mexico, leaving Simon behind in NY. The use of an echo chamber for their voices takes the song to a celestial level. The album winds down with a live cover of “Wake Up Little Susie” before finishing with just Simon and his guitar singing, “Song for the Asking”
The debate rages on as to which the critics think is their masterpiece, this or 1968’s Bookends. The public voted with their wallets. With four of their most well-known songs, Simon and Garfunkel went out with a bang as Bridge Over Troubled Waters would go on to be the duo’s most popular album with approximately 25 million units sold. A truly great album that deserves a spot in every record collection.