About Art Garfunkel
Arthur Ira Garfunkel is an American singer, poet, math teacher, and actor. He is best known for his partnership with Paul Simon in the folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel.
Highlights of his solo music career include a top 10 hit, three top 20 hits, six top 40 hits, 14 Adult Contemporary top 30 singles, five Adult Contemporary number ones, two UK number ones and a People's Choice Award. Through his solo and collaborative work, Garfunkel has earned eight Grammys, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 1990, he and Simon were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Garfunkel was considered the #86 best singer in the world, by Rolling Stone magazine.
Garfunkel was born in Forest Hills, Queens, New York City, the son of Rose and Jacob "Jack" Garfunkel, a traveling salesman. Art is a middle child with two brothers, the older named Jules and the younger named Jerome. Jacob's parents had originally immigrated to the United States at the turn of the century, and settled in Manhattan. Before his career in sales, Jacob worked as an actor in Dayton, Ohio. Garfunkel is of Romanian Jewish descent; his paternal grandparents immigrated from the city of Iași. His maternal cousin was Lou Pearlman, founder of the Backstreet Boys and NSYNC.
According to the Across America DVD, Garfunkel's love for singing originated in the first grade. "When we were lined up in size order, and after everyone else had left, I'd stay behind and enjoy the echo sound of the stairwell tiles and sing 'Unchained Melody' and 'You'll Never Walk Alone', learning to love this goosebumps song from the tender age of five." Later, Garfunkel's father bought him a wire recorder and from then on, Garfunkel spent his afternoons singing, recording, and playing it back, so he could listen for flaws and learn how to improve.
At his bar mitzvah in 1954, Garfunkel performed as a cantor, singing over four hours of his repertoire for his family. As a young teen, Garfunkel became ill with a lung infection, leading to a love for basketball. He explained in a 1998 Interview: "In the summer of '55, I had a lung infection. I couldn't run around, but I loved basketball and there was a hoop nearby. Much of the summer I spent methodically hitting 96, 98 foul shots out of 100. Then 102! I never played on a team after junior high school. Just 3 against 3, half court pick up games in the schoolyard." He met future singing partner Paul Simon in the sixth grade at PS 164, when they were both cast in the elementary school graduation play, Alice in Wonderland. It has been said by Garfunkel that Simon first became interested in singing after hearing Garfunkel sing a rendition of Nat King Cole's "Too Young" in a school talent show.
Between 1956 and 1962, the two performed together as "Tom & Jerry", a moniker coined by their label Big Records, occasionally performing at school dances. Their idols were The Everly Brothers, whom they imitated in their use of close two-part vocal harmony. In 1957, Simon & Garfunkel recorded the song "Hey, Schoolgirl" under the name Tom & Jerry. The single reached number forty-nine on the pop charts. Garfunkel chose his nickname because he liked to track or "graph" hits on the pop charts. He also released some singles as a solo artist under the name Artie Garr, a shortened version of his name. In interviews, Garfunkel has noted how these early singles distinguished him as a folk-styled crooner, with songs like "Beat Love" and "Dream Alone", both released in 1959.
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