Tuesday, 7 May 2019

This is a painting of Simon & Garfunkle

In 1970 Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle released, Bridge Over Troubled Water. Paul Simon wrote the song about his wife Peggy in an attempt to lift her spirits. When writing it on his guitar he tried to imagine Aretha Franklin singing it. Aretha later covered the song, as did Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and a host of other music legends. Paul Simon has admitted he struggled to find words for the third verse of the song and thinks he should have tried harder. However, the single was featured on an album which was also called, Bridge Over Troubled Water. The single and L.P both shot to number one in the charts in both the U.K. and the U.S. This had never been achieved by a singer or group before. Many years later Paul Simon released a solo album called, Hearts and Bones which flopped in both the U.K. and the U.S. One of the tracks from the album was about the Belgian painter Rene Magritte and his wife Georgette. When, Rene and Georgette Magritte with Their Dog after the War was released it got positive reviews but failed to be a hit. Allmusic described it as being, "a commercial disaster." Last year, Paul Simon performed the song live in Copenhagen, he'd given the song's arrangement a bit of t.l.c. and to my ears this sounds as good as Bridge Over Troubled Water ever did. Simon and Garfunkle's relationship has had it's ups and downs over the years. I like to think of them being friends again and collaborating once more. 'This is a painting of Simon and Garfunkle' (by Harry Pye and Rowland Smith) shows the two old friends in a gallery standing next to a painting by Magritte. Walking round an exhibition with a friend and discovering what you agree and disagree on is a pleasant way to pass the time and you get reminded that there is no accounting for taste - One man's meat is another man's poison. An artist might be able to control what happens on their canvas or on their album but once it's been made public there's no telling what reception it's going to get. In the painting Garfunkle is wearing a Happy Eater badge. It's curious that when the image of the badge is added into the mix the pipe seems more Freudian. Sigmund Freud famously said, "Sometimes a pipe is just a pipe" (meaning that isn't a sexual meaning behind everything). One wonders if Paul was jealous of Art's height or if Art was jealous of Paul's ability to write lyrics. Maybe Paul was jealous when Art got to number one with Brighteyes? There is so much we'll never know. I like the fact they can't look each other in the eye. They both remain guarded and alert. This painting is kind of a companion piece to another Rowland & Harry painting. Like Simon & Garfunkle, John & Yoko were another pair of New York City lovers who made beautiful music together.
(Both paintings are 95cm wide and 65cm high)

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