Simon & Garfunkel were an American folk rock duo consisting of singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel. They rank as one of the best-selling music acts of the 1960s. Their most famous recordings include the three US number ones: "The Sound of Silence" (1965) and the two Record of the Year Grammy winners "Mrs. Robinson" (1968) and "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1970). Other hits include "The Boxer" (1969), "Cecilia" (1970) and the four 1966 releases "Homeward Bound", "I Am a Rock", "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" (a single in 1968) and "A Hazy Shade of Winter" (also a no. 2 cover hit for the Bangles in 1987/88), as well as the 1968 album track (and 1972 UK hit) "America".
Simon and Garfunkel met in elementary school in Queens, New York City, in 1953, where they learned to harmonize and began writing songs. As teenagers, under the name Tom & Jerry, they had minor success with "Hey, Schoolgirl" (1957), a song imitating their idols, the Everly Brothers. In 1963, aware of a growing public interest in folk music, they regrouped and were signed to Columbia Records as Simon & Garfunkel. Their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (October 1964), sold poorly; Simon returned to a solo career, this time in England. In June 1965 "The Sound of Silence"—an acoustic song on the duo's debut album—was overdubbed with electric guitar and drums and in late 1965 became a US AM radio hit, reaching number one on Billboard's Hot 100 in the issued dated January 1, 1966 (initially keeping the Beatles' "We Can Work It Out" off the top spot). The duo reunited to release a second studio album, Sounds of Silence (January 1966)—featuring the updated version of "The Sound of Silence"—and toured colleges nationwide. For their third release, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (October 1966), the duo assumed more creative control. Their music (mostly old material) featured prominently in Mike Nichols's blockbuster film The Graduate (released December 1967), including "The Sound of Silence", "Scarborough Fair" (a winter/spring '68 film tie-in hit single) and two very short acoustic versions of "Mrs. Robinson". Across 16 consecutive weeks between April and July 1968 the film's soundtrack album and the duo's next studio LP, Bookends (April 1968)—featuring the hit version of "Mrs. Robinson"—alternated at number one on Billboard's Top 200.
Simon and Garfunkel had a troubled relationship, leading to artistic disagreements and their breakup in 1970. Their final studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water, released that January, became one of the world's best-selling albums. Following their split, Simon hit big on both the singles chart (13 Top 40 hits, 1972–86) and the album chart, including the acclaimed Graceland (1986). Garfunkel charted with hits such as "All I Know" (1973) and the two UK number ones "I Only Have Eyes for You" (1975) and "Bright Eyes" (Britain's top single of 1979), and briefly pursued an acting career, with leading roles in the Mike Nichols films Catch-22 (1970) and Carnal Knowledge (1971) and in Nicolas Roeg's Bad Timing (1980). The duo have reunited several times; their 1981 concert in Central Park may have attracted more than 500,000 people, one of the largest concert attendances in history.Simon & Garfunkel won seven Grammy Awards—plus four Grammy Hall of Fame Awards—and in 1990 were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Richie Unterberger described them as "the most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s" and one of the most popular artists from the decade. They are among the best-selling music artists, having sold more than 100 million records. They were ranked 40th on Rolling Stone's 2010 list of the Greatest Artists of All Time and third on its list of the greatest duos.