[Review] Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits (1972)

One of the greatest “greatest hits” compilations of all time, with over 14 million copies sold just in the U.S.

Kronomyth 6.0: Simon & Garfunkel’s gayest hats.

Although the duo only recorded a handful of albums, they left behind a rich legacy of music, much of it captured on Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. Released two years after their breakup and photographed only moments before Paul Simon and his magic egg-shaped container of sperm were inserted into an elephant’s vagina (surely, Sherman, you’ve heard of artificial insimonation?), Greatest Hits collects many of their hats (okay, just the one hideously awful, penis-shaped hat) and combines them with previously unreleased live versions of “The 59th Street Bridge Song,” “Homeward Bound” and two others.

The inclusion of live tracks is unexpected and unusual, the abrupt sequencing between live and studio tracks unwelcome, but the brilliance of the music featured here is undeniable. “The Boxer,” “America” and “Mrs. Robinson” are some of the greatest pop songs ever written, combining the lyrical acuity of Bob Dylan with the songcraft of Paul McCartney. Their harmonies are also outstanding, somewhere between Phil & Don and CS&N, as evidenced on “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” and “The Sound of Silence.”

I’ve never seen Simon & Garfunkel mentioned as a progressive rock band, and yet the pair’s understanding and appreciation for the potentialities of music influenced many progressive artists (including Yes, who later recorded a fantastic version of “America”). Although the two have reunited for one-off performances (including a George McGovern benefit that coincided with this album’s release), their studio collaborations have been very few and far between. Unlike the CSN&Y sightings and Byrds reunion of McGuinn, Clark & Hillman, Simon & Garfunkel truly burned the bridge behind them, even as Simon’s solo work has provided a link to that past and a future to look forward to.

Original elpee version

A1. Mrs. Robinson (4:02)
A2. For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her (live) (2:04)
A3. The Boxer (5:07)
A4. The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy) (live) (1:43)
A5. The Sound of Silence (3:02)
A6. I Am a Rock (2:50)
A7. Scarborough Fair/Canticle (Paul Simon/Art Garfunkel) (3:08)
B1. Homeward Bound (live) (2:30)
B2. Bridge Over Troubled Water (4:52)
B3. America (3:34)
B4. Kathy’s Song (live) (3:16)
B5. El Condor Pasa (If I Could) (Paul Simon/Jorge Milchberg/Daniel Alomia Robles) (3:06)
B6. Bookends (1:16)
B7. Cecilia (2:55)

The Players

Produced by Paul Simon, Arthur Garfunkel and Roy Halee.

The Pictures

Cover photo by Bill Silano.

The Plastic

Released on elpee on June 14, 1972 in the US (Columbia, KC-41350), the UK, Greece and Israel (CBS, S-69003) and Japan (CBS, 25AP-1367). Reached #5 on the US charts (RIAA-certified 14x platinum record) and #2 on the UK charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the US (Columbia, PC-31350).
  2. Re-released on remastered elpee in Japan (CBS, 30AP-2259).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in the UK (CBS, S-69003) [orange label].
  4. Re-released on blue vinyl elpee in Colombia (CBS, 14507).
  5. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Columbia, 31350).
  6. Re-issued on mini compact disc in the US (Columbia, CM-31350).
  7. Re-issued on compact disc in Australia (CBS, CDCBS-69003).
  8. Re-released on gold compact disc in 2003 in the US (Sony, SMM-0690036).
  9. Re-issued on compact disc in 2007 in Japan (Sony, SICP-1539).

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