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Abridged Over Troubled Waters

Simon and Garfunkel thought their career as a duo was over, until a sneaky producer stepped in.
Simon and his childhood buddy Garfunkel, right, were originally defiant East Village folkies.
10_28_SoundsOfSilence_01 Source: Keystone/Getty

Simon and Garfunkel—singer-songwriter Paul Simon and singer Art Garfunkel—were one of the most popular recording acts of the 1960s, but their recording career got off to a wobbly start. Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, their first album, was released by Columbia Records on October 19, 1964, and tanked initially, with sales rumored to be less than 1,000 copies nationally, which had them thinking their career as a duo was over.

When Paul Simon came to New York City in April, he and Art Garfunkel met with their producer, Tom Wilson, who filled them in on the latest excitement in the Columbia Records offices: Bob Dylan had hired a rock band to play on his just-released album, Bringing It All Back Home, while the just-signed Byrds had released their sparklingly electric cover of Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man.” Wilson, who

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