Art Garfunkel: Paul Simon a ‘Jerk’ with Short Man Syndrome


More than 40 years after being forced out of the biggest rock duo in the world at the height of its fame, Art Garfunkel still carries a tone of resentment when speaking of his former band mate.

In a recent interview with the Telegraph, Garfunkel opened up about Paul Simon, and used words like “idiot” and “jerk” to describe the man who bailed on Simon & Garfunkel almost immediately after the release of Bridge Over Troubled Water, in 1971.

“How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What’s going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?” the 73-year-old said while pretending to address Simon.

Over the breakup, Garfunkel continued:

It was very strange. Not my choice. Nothing I would have done. I want to open up about this. I don’t want to say any anti-Paul Simon things, and I love that the world still loves Simon & Garfunkel, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. Crazy. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. A rest was very much called for. The jokes had run dry. But a rest of a year was all I needed.

When asked if 5’3” Simon might suffer from a Napoleonic complex, Garfunkel replied: “I think you’re on to something. I would say so, yes.”

He then claimed he initiated a friendship with the short man in school because he felt sorry for him, and offered his love as compensation. He added: “that compensation gesture has created a monster.”

Garfunkel also recounted a meeting with Beatles guitarist George Harrison, who compared Paul Simon to Paul McCartney. “George came up to me at a party once and said ‘my Paul is to me what your Paul is to you.’ He meant that psychologically they had the same effect on us. The Pauls sidelined us,” Garfunkel said.

“I think George felt suppressed by Paul and I think that’s what he saw with me and my Paul. Here’s the truth: McCartney was a helluva music man who gave the band its energy, but he also ran away with a lot of the glory.”

Despite some harsh words, Art still seems quite fond of the magic created between he and his artistic other half. The duo has reunited several times since its 1971 split, and Garfunkel is warm to the idea of a reunion when asked about the possibility.

“Will I do another tour with Paul? Well, that’s quite do-able. When we get together with his guitar, it’s a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So as far as this half is concerned, I would say, ‘Why not, while we’re still alive?'”

He also told his interviewer:

I’ve been in that same place for decades. This is where I was in 1971… If he’s too busy to work with me I guess the real answer to your question is, “I’m too busy to work with him.” I think that’s the only answer I can give you for pride’s sake.

You can read Art Garfunkel’s entire interview here.


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