Simon, Paul, 1941–, American singer, songwriter, and guitarist, b. Newark, N.J. A polished and intelligent folk-rock lyricist and performer, he first gained fame as half of Simon and Garfunkel. Not long after their highly successful album Bridge over Troubled Water (1970), Simon split with Garfunkel and pursued a solo career, releasing the album Paul Simon in 1972. In his solo work, Simon has used a startling variety of national and international styles, mingling them with an idiosyncratic and highly personal content. His folk-inflected and often introspective songs of the 1970s are typified by the album Still Crazy after All These Years (1975). Simon broadened his themes in Graceland (1986), one of the most popular albums of the decade, which featured several African musicians, including the South African choral group Ladysmith Black Mambazo. His next album, The Rhythm of the Saints (1990), explored Afro-Brazilian music. After the failure of his Latin-themed Broadway musical The Capeman (1997, written with Derek Walcott), Simon toured (1999) with Bob Dylan. Later albums include You're the One (2000) and Surprise (2006).
See biography, P. Humphries, Paul Simon: Still Crazy after All These Years (1989); M. S. Cohen, Simon and Garfunkel (1977); J. Morella and P. Barey, Simon and Garfunkel (1991); S. Luftig, ed. Paul Simon Companion: Four Decades of Commentary (1997); S. Steinberg, dir., American Masters, Paul Simon (video documentary, 1993).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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