Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The #14 Album of All-Time in the Rock Era--"Bridge Over Troubled Water" by Simon & Garfunkel

We have counted down the Top 100 Albums* until we are now in rarefied air--the Top 15 of All-Time in the Rock Era*.

Hard to believe that for all the great music that Simon and Garfunkel put out, they only had five studio albums.  But that is true, only meaning that each album was jam-packed with great tracks.  Their fifth album represented their peak.  The album sent 10 weeks at #1, 17 in the Top 10 and 85 on the album chart.  To date, it has sold eight million copies in the United States and 25 worldwide.  It has a great Track Rating* of 9.3. 

This next information doesn't affect The Top Albums in the United States*, but it is impressive nonetheless.  When we feature The Top Albums in the World*, it will definitely be a factor.  Bridge Over Troubled Water was not only #1 in the U.S., but in Australia, Chile, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the U.K.  And it wasn't just #1 and then off the charts but #1 for multiple weeks, in most cases more than 10.

The album received tremendous airplay with three monster hits.  "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and "The Boxer" are both in The Top 500 Songs of the Rock Era* and "Cecelia" was huge as well.  Not only that, but a fourth single "El Condor Pasa", and nearly every other track on the album has received airplay on the radio.  "Keep the Customer Satisfied" is still a favorite when the duo performs, as is "Bye Bye Love", which they do with the Everly Brothers (who of course had the original hit) both on the album and in concert.  Then you have "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright", "Baby Driver", "The Only Living Boy in New York", "Why Don't You Write Me", "Song for the Asking"--there aren't too many people that don't know those songs.

Simon and Garfunkel won Grammys for Album of the Year, Best Engineered Recording and "Bridge Over Troubled Water won statues for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Contemporary Pop Song and Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocal.

Bridge Over Troubled Water:
(All songs by Paul Simon unless noted.)

Side one
1.  "Bridge Over Troubled Water" --4:52
2.  "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)" --Daniel Alomia Robles, English lyrics by Paul Simon (3:06)
3.  "Cecilia" --2:55
4.  "Keep the Customer Satisfied" --2:33
5.  "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" --3:41

Side two
1.  "The Boxer" --5:08
2.  "Baby Driver" --3:14
3.  "The Only Living Boy in New York" --3:58
4.  "Why Don't You Write Me" --2:45
5.  "Bye Bye Love" (Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) --recorded live in Ames, Iowa (2:55)
6.  "Song for the Asking" --1:39

Paul Simon played guitar; he and Art Garfunkel did both lead and harmony vocals.  Joe Osborn played bass, the great session musician Larry Knechtel played piano, Los Incas played Peruvian instruments, Paul Fred Carter, Jr. was on guitar, another outstanding session musician, Hal Blaine, was the drummer, Pete Drake played both steel guitar and Dobro, Jimmie Haskell and Ernie Freeman played strings and Bryan Beck played flute, saxophones and horns.

Bridge Over Troubled Water was recorded between November of 1968 and November of 1969 and was produced by Simon, Garfunkel  and Roy Halee.  The album was released January 26, 1970 on Columbia Records.

And it comes in at #15 all-time, from Simon and Garfunkel.

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