The Arty Semite

Why Simon & Garfunkel Split

By Renee Ghert-Zand

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Mike Nichols is to Simon & Garfunkel as Yoko Ono is to The Beatles.

Getty Images

Art Garfunkel revealed at a recent panel discussion in New York that when the film director hired the duo to act in his 1970 film version of Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22,” — but then dropped Simon from the project — he did the partnership in.

“I had Paul sort of waiting: ‘All right, I can take this for three months. I’ll write the songs, but what’s the fourth month? And why is Artie in Rome [the filming location] a fifth month?’ What’s Mike doing to Simon & Garfunkel?’” Garfunkel recalled Simon’s take on the situation at the time.

Garfunkel spoke at an event following a special screening of his and Simon’s controversial 1969 documentary “Songs of America” on February 6 at New York’s Paley Center for Media.

The film’s director, Charles Grodin, was also on hand. He concurred with Garfunkel about where the blame lies for the demise of Simon & Garfunkel, saying, “You don’t take Simon & Garfunkel and ask them to be in a movie and then drop one of their roles on them. You just don’t do that.”

It is widely known that Simon expressed his displeasure at the time by penning “The Only Living Boy in New York,” while awaiting his partner’s return from shooting the movie in 1969. In 1970, the pair announced their split.

In the decades since, the two musicians have reunited for numerous concerts. However, it would seem that what precipitated Simon & Garfunkel’s parting after the release of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” is still not completely water under the bridge.

Watch Simon & Garfunkle’s ‘Songs of America’:


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