Bridge over Troubled Water (1970)
“Bridge over Troubled Water” is the title song of Simon & Garfunkel’s album of the same name. The single was released on January 26, 1970, though it also appears on the live album Live 1969, released in 2008. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 28, 1970, and stayed at the top of the chart for six weeks. “Bridge over Troubled Water” also topped the adult contemporary chart in the U.S. for six weeks. The single has sold 6 million copies worldwide.
This song’s recording process exposed many of the underlying tensions that eventually led to the breakup of the duo after the album’s completion. Most notably, Paul Simon has repeatedly expressed regret over his insistence that Art Garfunkel sing his song as a solo, as it focused attention on Garfunkel and relegated Simon to a secondary position. Art Garfunkel initially did not want to sing lead vocal, feeling it was not right for him. “He felt I should have done it,” Paul Simon revealed to Rolling Stone in 1972.
Garfunkel said that the moment when he performed it at a 1972 Madison Square Garden benefit concert, as part of a one-off reunion with Simon, was “almost biblical.”