Paul Simon Discusses Simon and Garfunkel Break-Up with Howard Stern

Legendary singer-songwriter Paul Simon, who served as one-half of iconic folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, was a guest on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show this week. During the interview, Simon opened up about starting a solo career in the 1970s, as well as meeting his wife, Edie Brickell.

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Simon also informed Stern that he and Art Garfunkel were offered parts in the film Catch-22, but the role he would have played was cut from the script. (Garfunkel went on to act in the film.)

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“It wasn’t Artie’s fault,” Simon said of beginning his solo career. “We were in the midst of making Bridge Over Troubled Water and [Catch-22] was interrupting, and Simon & Garfunkel were at their peak,” Simon said. “From The Graduate to Bridge Over Troubled Water, we were probably as big as the Beatles.”

“What was going on in the studio though was a real tug of war about taste and how to do it,” Simon continued. “We were friends since we were 12 years old, but our musical inclinations are quite different, and so we would have disagreements, and the disagreements could be, you know, real arguments that could stop a session cold.”

Simon then told Stern that what really drove the duo apart was the fact that Garfunkel was to appear in the film Carnal Knowledge, directed by Mike Nichols, who’d also helmed The Graduate and Catch-22. Simon later recalled a conversation between him and Garfunkel. “I was afraid if I told you, you would stop working on Bridge Over Troubled Water,” Garfunkel said, in Simon’s words.

 “We would’ve broken up anyway. Duos don’t stay together,” Simon explained. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon and Garfunkel’s fifth and final album, was released on January 26, 1970.

Simon later told Stern about his first impressions of his wife, singer Brickell, when he met her for the first time on Saturday Night Live. “I wasn’t thinking anything. I was thinking, ‘I like the way she sings, I love the way she looks, [and] I’m happy enough to be here,’” Simon said. “I’m not thinking, ‘Hey, maybe I’ll marry this girl.’”

While Simon explained that he and Brickell were thrown off initially by their 25-year age difference, the two soon met again at one of Brickell’s shows at Bottom Line in New York City. “After the first show, I went backstage to her dressing room, but it was packed with record company people,” Simon said. “I was driving away, and I thought, ‘Why am I driving away? I came down here to see her.’”

During the interview, Simon also discussed selling his music catalog. “It’s a strange feeling to not actually have my hands on it, even though I have a lot of control over what can be done written in the contract. I’m happy with it, but I have a little bit of regret that I’m not completely in control.”

Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

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