Paul Simon is an American singer-songwriter and musician. His career began as half of the musical duo Simon & Garfunkel with his friend Art Garfunkel. He wrote his first song when he was twelve, and his father wrote the words and chords on paper for him to read. That song, The Girl for Me, became the first officially copyrighted Simon & Garfunkel song and now is preserved in the Library of Congress. When the group split up in 1970, he went on to have a wildly successful solo career as a singer and guitar player. In addition to his musical performance career, he also wrote music for film and Broadway and is a strong advocate for musical education for children.
Recently, in June of 2012, he released a 25th anniversary box set of his album Graceland. The set included a remastered version of the original album, an audio narrative titled “The Store of ‘Graceland’”, the documentary “Under African Skies”, and a video of the original “African Concert” in Zimbabwe in 1987, including additional interviews and exclusives. To commemorate the anniversary, he played several concerts in Europe with the original musicians. Later, in December of 2012, he performed at the funeral of Victoria Soto, a teacher killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
His first solo album, Paul Simon, is considered to be one of the first examples of reggae by a white musician and reached the Top 5 in the United States, Britain, and Japan, receiving universal praise. One year later, in 1973, he released There Goes Rhymin’ Simon, which featured what would become some of his most popular and well-known songs and reaching number one on the charts. In 1975, he released Still Crazy After All These Years, another chart-topper. His next popular album came in 1986. Graceland was number one in several countries and became a 5x Platinum album.
Paul Simon has won twelve Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award and a Hall of Fame Award, and has been nominated for five more. He was nominated for an Oscar in 2002 for his song Father and Daughter and is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame- once in 1990 for Simon & Garfunkel, and again in 2001 as a solo artist. In 2001 he was named the MusiCares Person of the Year and the next year, he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, the United States’ most prestigious award for musical and cultural artists. He has won thirty nine BMI Awards and has an honorary degree from Brandeis University.
Though he is not currently touring, he does, from time to time, perform for charitable events. In May 2012, he performed at a benefit event for the Turkana Basin institute in New York City. His contribution to the even earned more than two million dollars for Richard Leakey’s research institute in Africa. In 2014, it has been announced that he will go on a North American concert tour with fellow musician and philanthropist Sting.