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In What Is It All but Luminous, Art Garfunkel writes about growing up in the 1940s and ’50s (son of a traveling salesman, listening as his father played Enrico Caruso records), a middle-class Jewish boy living in a redbrick semiattached house on Jewel Avenue in Kew Gardens, Queens.
He writes of meeting Paul Simon, the kid who made Art laugh (they met at their graduation play, Alice in Wonderland; Paul was the White Rabbit; Art, the Cheshire Cat). Of their being twelve at the birth of rock ‘n’ roll (“It was rhythm and blues. It was black. I was captured and so was Paul.”), of a demo of their song “Hey Schoolgirl” for seven dollars and the actual record (with Paul’s father on bass) going to #40 on the charts.
He writes about their becoming Simon & Garfunkel, ruling the pop charts from the age of sixteen, about not being a natural performer but more a thinker, an underground man.
He writes of the hit songs, touring, about being an actor working with director Mike Nichols (“the greatest of them all”), about choosing music over a Ph.D. in mathematics.
And he writes about his long-unfolding split with Paul, and how and why it evolved, and after, learning to perform on his own…and about being a husband, a father, and much more.
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