#357: 1966, Simon & Garfunkel, Scarborough Fair/Canticle

by Ray_North on December 19, 2011


I grew up with Simon and Garfunkel and this is one of the first songs I can ever remember hearing – the harmonies are unforgettable and the images that are conjured up of a journey to a fair (which come from a traditional English poem that became a folk song) resonated in my childish consciousness. In my memory, I listened to it as I played and my Mum cooked tea in the kitchen – that perfect time, before you go to school when you have your Mum all to yourself.

For about five years until they self-imploded during the recording of A Bridge Over Troubled Waters (a song so grandiose, that it leaves me cold), Simon and Garfunkel recorded some of the most wonderful and memorable songs ever written, culminating in the brilliant soundtrack of The Graduate – in which this song features to fantastic effect as Dustin Hoffman sits at the bottom of a swimming pool contemplating his existence.

Perhaps not surprisingly given their very particular and complex sound, for years few bands tried to emulate them (an exception being The Stone Roses, whose Elizabeth My Dear, is a clear tribute to Scarborough Fair), and during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s its difficult to hear their influence, however, this has changed in the last couple of years, with the stunning Midlake and Fleet Foxes, who have brought multi-layered harmonies and folk lyrics back into the mainstream.

This is a very special song though and as I listen to it now, I realise that it actually has immense power- the music is so rich it keeps rolling back at you – you can’t ignore it. No wonder, as a child, I was spellbound.

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