Letter B- Bridge Over Troubled Water- Simon&Garfunkel

#AtoZChallenge 2023 letter B

This year for the 2023 A-Z Blog Challenge, I’m going to begin by listing a song or musical subject, and then see how fast and how far I can completely blow up my own “stream of consciousness,” and head “off the reservation,” by linking every real, and “Zulu Delta-imagined” fact, piece of music trivia, or not so apparent connection to what is racing around my head to that song in an “unstructured, graffiti-like” format. Complete and utter nonsense! Turn it up and turn it on, but as Van “The Man” Morrison said…….”It’s already turned on!”

In 1970, Simon and Garfunkel released Bridge Over Troubled Water.

For the first time, they listed the studio musicians in the album liner who played on it, including “super session” members of the Los Angeles-based Wrecking Crew.

Most people know the song, but I chose to start off with a version I really love from the TV show Lucifer, as the actors actually did sing.

Considered a “true” and iconic masterpiece for Paul Simon’s brilliant lyrics and Art Garfunkel’s angelic voice.

A friend once stated that the song would be far less “impactful” without the participation of Garfunkel (maybe); almost insinuating that nobody else could sing it “properly.” In my opinion, on a grand scale, this is the same off-handed musical snobbery that keeps people from singing pieces like “Ava Maria,” or “Tura Lura Lural (That’s an Irish Lullaby)”; as complex as they may be. I know this because I am a tone-deaf and musically inept-far from savant- babbling blog writer. Paul Simon knew this as well (about the snobbery, not about my lack of musical skills!), and would often perform “Bridge” as a solo act (I saw it in an amazing concert); after all, it was his song, and he didn’t need any “ghosts” looking over his shoulder. Damn right!

Paul Simon recalled the first time he “really” met Art Garfunkel; Art was kicked out of a candy store in New York City by the owner at age 10 for constantly shaking the boxes of Good and Plenty (one of the vilest candies of all time-ZD) to find out which box had the most pieces of candy in them.

Paul Simon once showed up on the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and performed in a semi-fictitious comedy sketch as a member of the musical band “Troubled Waters.”

In one particular YouTube comment section, a viewer adamantly and of course incorrectly claimed that Elvis was the original singer and songwriter of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” He further claimed that the Elvis version of the song is “globally considered” the greatest rendition of the song ever sung and recorded.

My nephew Aziz once asked me why there are so many pop references to Elvis in movies and TV. I tried to explain the popularity and influence of Elvis on America, from teen culture to the sexual exploitation of his hips being banned from a TV appearance of Ed Sullivan in 1957. My critique was somewhat academic, as I was also too young, or not even born yet, to feel the “burn” of the Elvis craze but would eventually wonder the same as Aziz, which will pop up in a later blog.

I had come across this video which led me to watching the TV show Psych. It’s cute and contains a scene about a bridge; The Lions Gate Bridge in Vancouver, British Columbia, which I hope to sail under this summer, as well as an Elvis song which I hadn’t heard before, but now love. While we’re at it, let’s toss in a great full video version of the song, to a movie I don’t want to watch due to the violence, but has Kurt Russell as an Elvis impersonator.

Additionally, folk lore states that Elvis once entered an “Elvis Look-alike” contest and came in Third.

There are several other iconic songs about bridges. “London Bridge Is Falling Down” in which the actual bridge is now in the U.S. State of Arizona, and often confused with the “Tower Bridge” in London. The soundtrack whistling for the movie “The Bridge over The River Kwai,” the song “Burning Bridges” by The Mike Curb Congregation for the soundtrack of the movie “Kelly’s Heroes,” and another great Simon and Garfunkel song; “The 59 Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy).”

The Tower Bridge in London

The 59 Street Bridge in New York City has been renamed the Ed Koch Queensboro Bridge. This leads to something that has been mentioned on this site before; how mad I get to see large scale public works projects, building, bridges and even community Merry-Go-Rounds named after politicians. As if the politicians personally paid for the project or structure at hand. Sure, that politician may have provided service to the community, but so have millions of bus drivers, teachers, construction workers, long term government accountants, nurses, and city clerks. Disgraceful.

The naming and renaming of public land has also spilled over into society to entangle race relations, the sporting community and a road tunnel through Boston, Massachusetts. Tommy Heinsohn was a legendary Hall of Fame Boston Celtics basketball player, Hall of Fame coach, and Hall of Fame broadcaster. He was a white man who attended the Catholic college, Holy Cross. This is the quote Tommy had in 2020 about another NBA legend, his former black teammate, Hall of Fame player, the first black Head Coach in the NBA, friend, and “race-relations bridge-builder” Bill Russell;

“Look, all I know is, Bill Russell won two NCAA Championships, 50-some college games in a row, the (’56) Olympics, then he came to Boston and won 11 championships in 13 years,” Tommy said, “and they named a (bleeping) tunnel after Ted Williams.”

Let’s leave this blog with some good vibes of one of my favorite Simon and Garfunkel tunes, and for the record; Elephants are not really dumb. Right, Anno Domini?

17 thoughts on “Letter B- Bridge Over Troubled Water- Simon&Garfunkel

  1. I’ve always liked Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash’s rendition of Bridge Over Troubled Water. It’s not “angelic” but it’s touching,bespecially knowing that they really did have some troubled waters to cross.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Johnny does not appear in this version, but he is mentioned other places in my blog, A great entertainer who had the appeal to go and sing wherever and with ever, he wanted to. Thanks for stopping by. ZD


  2. Hear, hear for your tribute to this beautiful song! I agree with you 100% that anyone who wishes has a right to sing this song, Paul Simon most of all. Here’s hoping that there will be more singers in times to come who give us their own versions.

    Thanks for your post.


  3. This song and “American Pie” were popular when I was in junior high and high school. We figured the disc jockeys (before they became “button jockeys”) played them when they had to go to the head…😆

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remember when the bridge over troubled waters came out…..I was sitting in my uncle’s living room in Roseville CA listening to it on my uncle’s new component stereo system that my dad had just brought back on one of his air force trips to Japan….5’ high speakers! You could really hear every sound that album had to offer and it was magical.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mike, Funny, the huge speakers they had back in the day were almost as big as the speaker they have today to power a whole concert! Thanks for reading and commenting! Zulu Delta


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