Paul Simon was always an uneasy folksinger, a role his record company tried to push him into starting with Simon & Garfunkel‘s debut album. Before that, along with New York City pal and musical partner Art Garfunkel, Simon formed Tom & Jerry, an Everly Brothers-style duo, in the late ’50s that led to their folk career the next decade.
But that Everly Brothers influence never left him, and as he became more adventurous with each Simon & Garfunkel album – banging out percussive rhythms on the floor, hiring a Peruvian group to back them – that “folksinger” label hardly seemed to fit him anymore, as you’ll see in our list of Paul Simon Albums Ranked Worst to Best.
By the time he started making solo records in the ’70s, Simon was already embracing sounds from Brazil, Jamaica and other faraway places that most pop stars of the day were barely aware of. It was no surprise that Graceland, which fused South African musicians and rhythms with Simon’s sharp Western pop inclinations, arrived with such force in the ’80s. Simon’s entire career was leading to it.
Since then, he’s rarely looked back, taking his South African excursion to other continents and even taking his musical journey to the Broadway stage. He’s one of music’s most restless artists, rarely going the expected route, whether taking a lengthy break between albums when people just didn’t do things like that or collaborating with Brian Eno for an ambient-inspired project.
Simon’s story isn’t complete without Simon & Garfunkel, which is why we included their five studio records in the following list of Paul Simon Albums Ranked Worst to Best.
Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel Albums Ranked
He was always an uneasy folksinger, a role his record company tried to push him into starting with Simon & Garfunkel’s debut.