"It's hard to imagine any single word that would accurately describe this book . . . an entertaining volume that's more fun to read than a conventional memoir might have been."
—The Wall Street Journal
"A charming book of prose and poetry printed in a digitalized version of his handwriting . . . witty, candid, and wildly imaginative . . . A highly intelligent man trying to make sense of his extraordinary life."
From the golden-haired, curly-headed half of Simon & Garfunkel, a memoir (of sorts)—moving, lyrical impressions, interspersed throughout a narrative, punctuated by poetry, musings, lists of resonant books loved and admired, revealing a life and the making of a musician, that show us, as well, the evolution of a man, a portrait of a life-long friendship and of a collaboration that became the most successful singing duo in the roiling age that embraced, and was defined by, their pathfinding folk-rock music.
In What Is It All but Luminous, Art Garfunkel writes about growing up in the 1940s and ‘50s (son of a traveling salesman, listening as his father played Enrico Caruso records), a middle-class Jewish boy, living in a redbrick semi-attached house on Jewel Avenue in Kew Gardens, Queens.
He writes of meeting Paul Simon, the kid who made Art laugh (they met at their graduation play, Alice in Wonderland; Paul was the White Rabbit; Art, the Cheshire Cat). Of their being twelve at the birth of rock’n’roll (“it was rhythm and blues. It was black. I was captured and so was Paul”), of a demo of their song, Hey Schoolgirl for seven dollars and the actual record (with Paul’s father on bass) going to #40 on the charts.
He writes about their becoming Simon & Garfunkel, ruling the pop charts from the age of sixteen, about not being a natural performer but more a thinker, an underground man.
He writes of the hit songs; touring; about being an actor working with directors Mike Nichols (“the greatest of them all”), about choosing music over a PhD in mathematics.
And he writes about his long-unfolding split with Paul, and how and why it evolved, and after; learning to perform on his own . . . and about being a husband, a father and much more.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
On Saturday mornings, in 1953, in Keds sneakers, white on white, I took my basketball to P.S. 164. We played half-court ball, three on three. Or else I listened to Martin Block’s Make-Believe Ballroom on the radio. I loved to chart the top thirty songs. It was the numbers that got me. I kept meticulous lists — when a new singer like Tony Bennett came onto the charts with “Rags to Riches.” I watched the record jump from, say, #23 to #14 in a week. The mathematics of the jumps went to my sense of fun. I was commercially aware through the Hit Parade, as well as involved in the music. Johnny Ray’s “Cry,” the Crewcuts’ “Sha-boom,” Roy Hamilton ballads, “Unchained Melody” reached me. Soon the Everly Brothers would take me for The Big Ride.
Excerpted from "What Is It All but Luminous"
Copyright © 2017 Art Garfunkel.
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