One of the founding fathers of the American folk scene, Art Garfunkel has often been cast aside as simply the balancing weight to Paul Sion’s genius. As a duo, Simon and Garfunkel have countless pioneering moments. Their vision for folk would help break the genre into the mainstream, delivering huge record sales in the process. While Simon found immense fame following their break-up, Garfunkel’s progress was somewhat slower.
Following their split in 1970, Garfunkel attempted his own career, which meant, like today, that he was beckoned to the promotional circuit. Amid an array of interviews and appearances, Garfunkel made his way on to the BBC radio programme ‘My Top Twelve’. The show asked its guests to pick out their twelve favourite songs of the moment, and Garfunkel’s selection is genuinely fascinating.
The opinion of Garfunkel hasn’t really changed over the years. Many still consider him to be a bit-part player to the success he enjoyed with Paul Simon. Others, however, note him not only as a wonderfully talented vocalist but also a voracious and authentic man. During his conversation with the BBC, he displays both versions of himself.
Picking out a selection of your favourite songs is always difficult to do, but to try and complete it in 1975 means Garfunkel was simply swimming in amazing tracks from some of rock’s finest creators. First up, he pays tribute to the 1960s and selects The Rolling Stones classic ‘Satisfaction’, noting: “Oh, I love good rock and roll. Any beat and is strong and keeps real good time. Has interesting electric guitar stuff. Good lick. I love rock and roll.”
After that, Garfunkel continues to pick out iconic songs of the past, noting The Everly Brothers and Hughie Smith as favourites. Garfunkel also pays homage to two of the biggest groups of the 1960s as he selects The Beach Boys’ track ‘Good Vibrations’ and the soulful Beatles number ‘Here, There and Everywhere‘, the singer provides clear reasoning for picking that song out of the Fab Four’s dense back catalogue: “Because as a romantic balladeer myself I always thought this was the sweetest and most lyrical of all The Beatles songs.”
Garfunkel also picks out other notable lyricists, including both Joni Mitchell and Randy Newman. About selecting Mitchell’s ‘River‘, Garfunkel said: “I wanted to do a Joni Mitchell song; I put that in this mythical album of twelve songs because Joni is so talented.”
Sadly, the original recording of the interview is lost in the ether of the internet. However, you can read the full interview here and, below, we’ve provided you with the full list of songs and a perfect playlist to boot.
Art Garfunkel’s favourite songs:
- ‘Satisfaction’ – The Rolling Stones
- ‘Let It Be Me’ – The Everly Brothers
- ‘Good Vibrations’ – The Beach Boys
- ‘Don’t You Just Know It’ – Hughie Smith
- ‘Here There and Everywhere’ – The Beatles
- ‘Prisoner in Disguise’ – Linda Ronstadt
- ‘River Deep and Mountain High’ – Ike and Tina Turner
- ‘Sea Cruise’ – Frankie Ford
- ‘River’ – Joni Mitchell
- ‘Earth Angel’ – The Penguins
- ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ – Simon & Garfunkel
- ‘Marie’ – Randy Newman