Once the “only living boy in New York,” Paul Simon recently announced that he is retiring from touring. Retirement will not bring sounds of silence, however. Like many retirees, Simon hopes to continue using his talents. He said he would consider performing and donating the proceeds to charities.
Among the lessons one could take away from Paul Simon’s career —a particularly salient one — is that not all collaborations are meant to last forever.
Simon is perhaps best known for his rise to fame as part of the counterculture folk duo, Simon & Garfunkel. Although friends since elementary school, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel had a series of breakups and makeups before finally ending their musical partnership for good in 1970. Simon then went on to record a series of critically acclaimed albums with great commercial success.
Although the duo’s last studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, is one of the most popular in history, Simon has done quite well for himself without Garfunkel. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist, received a Grammys Lifetime Achievement Award, a Kennedy Center Honors and was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’ Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007.
Simon’s retirement announcement comes on the heels of the death of Vincent N’guini, his band’s lead guitarist and longtime friend. In a letter Simon posted on his website, he indicated that spending more time with the people he loves was a motivating factor in his decision.
“I feel the travel and time away from my wife and family takes a toll that detracts from the joy of playing,” he wrote.
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