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Although it has been over 40 years since Bridge Over Troubled Water was recorded, Art Garfunkel's image and signature vocal remain among the most instantly recognizable in popular music. His "beautiful countertenor," as Neil Strauss described Art's voice in The New York Times, is clear and resonant, surely one of the finest instruments in all of popular music, and a time-honored friend to a world of listeners. The dialogue began for Art at age four, when his father brought home one of the first wire recorders. We made demos in Manhattan and knocked on all the doors of the record companies with our hearts in our throats. I was the kid who was going to find some way to make a 'decent' living. But he never stopped singing, and even recorded several solo singles as 'Artie Garr' while in school.
In the spring of , Art Garfunkel stepped out of his New York apartment building and began a walk across North America. The journey was conducted across 40 installments always picking up exactly where the last one ended and took him 14 years to complete. The whole time, he had a small notepad and pen in his back pocket. There must have been a thousand of them.
Art Garfunkel met fellow musician Paul Simon while in school and went on to form a band called Tom and Jerry. Sensing his son's enthusiasm for melody, Jack, a traveling salesman, bought Garfunkel a wire recorder. Even as young as four, Garfunkel would sit for hours with the gadget, singing, listening and fine-tuning his voice, and then recording again. At Forest Hills Junior Elementary School Garfunkel was known for belting out songs in empty hallways and performing in plays. In sixth grade, he was in a school production of Alice in Wonderland along with classmate Paul Simon. Simon knew Garfunkel as the singer who was always surrounded by girls. The two lived only blocks from each other in Queens, but it wasn't until Simon heard Garfunkel sing that their fates aligned. Soon, the duo began singing in school talent shows and practicing long hours in basements. During their high school years, the future Grammy winners performed as Tom Landis and Jerry Graph, fearing that their real names sounded too Jewish and would hamper their success.