My early childhood has a definite soundtrack, especially songs that came from the the bestselling album of 1970 – Bridge over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel.
The fifth studio album by America’s favourite folk duos was done in 1969, while the two were busy with other projects – Art Garfunkel had been cast in the film Catch-22 while Simon was creating songs without his usual partner.
In this time period Simon wrote the title track of the album, wanting to incorporate the sounds of gospel piano. When Garfunkel continued filming, he and Simon went into the studio in Los Angeles so he continue with his acting and to work on the album, which would be their last one.
The title track song said Simon at the time, was influenced by The Beatles’ Let it Be and because of the gospel music he was listening to at that time.
Because of their commitments, the duo said no to performing or touring, including being at Woodstock. The duo spent months focusing on the various songs on the album, bringing in gospel, rockabilly, soul, and rock session musicians and singers to make the album unique.
Finishing in late 1969, the duo did a few performances and a television special, and in January 1970, the album was released by Columbia Records.
Bridge Over Troubled Water became the bestselling album of the year, and charted at number one in over 10 countries, including the Billboard Hot 100.
Thanks to the title track, and songs like The Boxer, Cecilia, The only Boy living in New York and Bye Bye Love, the album’s tracks were easily found on every radio station’s playlist.
The album won several Grammys including Best Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year and Contemporary Song of the Year. Rolling Stone Magazine named this album as one of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
For the next three years, this album was the bestselling album in any record store in the United States and it wasn’t until Michael Jackson’s Thriller, that this album lost that sales title.
Simon and Garfunkel went their separate ways later in 1970, but their music legacy as a duo was solidified with this last album.
For this child of the 1970s, this album was played regularly in my home and on any radio that was within my earshot. I’m always reminded of how it may remind me of years ago, but its songs are just as memorable today.