A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to an Edit

I’m going to put it out there … something I’ve been thinking about this past week.

The whole thing started while I worked on an edit. Not mine. Someone else’s. I got tired of sitting at my desk, looking out at the same old poinsettia bush. After all, it’s summertime. The bush is nothing shy of boring and green. So, I got up, went into the family room, and flipped on Pandora Radio on the television.

Apparently the last time I listened to Pandora in the family room, I had it on the “Simon and Garfunkel” station.

I love Simon and Garfunkel’s music. I grew up on it. I owned their albums, which I played nonstop on the little portable in my bedroom, the one I got one year for Christmas. (The portable, not the bedroom…)

Growing up, I took a lot of dance classes and, as a teenager, added choreography classes. One of my all-time favorite numbers that I choreographed was to Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxerwhich also happened to be my favorite all-time favorite song of theirs. And, wouldn’t you know it, Pandora started my afternoon of music-to-edit-by with that very song.

After a while I stopped editing and started wondering why in the world two such brilliant young talents separated. I knew, from past research, that they’d known each other since boyhood and had performed together for way more years than they’d been recording successes.

For the next half hour or so (or more, but who’s counting?), I watched videos where the two men talked, separately, about what had taken place … what had led to their breakup. And, I have to tell you, it broke my heart. 

So, here’s the story: it all broke up over Bridge Over Troubled Waterwhich Paul had written in a high key (that he could not sing) specifically for “Artie” as he called Art Garfunkel. Thus, “Artie” sang the song “solo.” And so well, most people assumed he had written the song for himself. Simon was disturbed by the misunderstanding and Garfunkel wasn’t saying enough to fix the error. Even when they came back together for the 1981 Central Park concert, Simon walked off the stage while Garfunkel sang “Bridge.” The whole thing was still too close to home (although today they say they are both fine with it all). 

And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. One of the most beloved, most successful duos in the history of music broke up over who wrote a song. (Can someone say, “Pride comes before a fall”?)

But wait … I stopped myself as I went on a mental tirade over such silliness. Wait. How many times have I frowned and pouted? “I wrote that…” or “I said that first…” or … the list goes on and on. The beauty of what was done is lost in the faulty emotions and attitudes of the do-ers.

So, here’s my challenge to all of us (myself included)… the next time you get puffed up because you didn’t get credit for something, stop. Step back. Breathe. Rethink it. What’s more important? The effects of the song or the credit of the songwriter? What do you think?

(I’ve included a couple of neat videos in the links of the songs. Enjoy!)

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Eva Marie Everson is the president of Word Weavers International, the director of Florida Christian Writers Conference, and the author of over 30 published works. Her novels have won numerous awards (including two Maggies, the Inspirational Readers Choice Award,and the AWSA Golden Scroll Award) and she has finaled for a Christy, a Carol Award, and a Gold Medallion). She is a wife, mother and grandmother and is pretty much owned by her dog, Poods. For more information about her work and life, check out her website: www.EvaMarieEversonAuthor.com

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  1. says

    Great post, Eva. Very profound. I have always loved the song ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ and now it is bittersweet to know the history behind it and yet also inspiring to not allow my pride to get in the way of using our gifts. Thank you for this reminder!

  2. Rachel Hauck says

    Wow, Eva, such great advice and insight. I hate to think of them breaking up over such trivial thing but man, it’s hard to let others take credit for our work.

    However, if Paul Simon wrote that song, he’s taking it all the way to the bank, who cares if the world knows he wrote it, you know? The BANK knows.


  3. says

    It is so sad that they broke up because of that. But I see things like that so much as of late. Instead of just being happy because something is a success, people tend to get mad because they don’t get the credit they feel they deserve. Although the success of whatever it tends to be should be good enough.

    Great post!!

    Angie Young

  4. says

    Fascinating back story on that break-up, Eva. I’ve never heard that until now and yes, it’s sad. Thanks for the interesting post and timely reminder. I’m asking Father to help me hold onto it!

  5. says

    Wonder who hurt the most….Paul over feeling slighted, or Artie knowing his buddy was filled with jealousy and hard feelings?

    I’ve talked to more than one author who mentioned they felt some of their friends distanced after their novels were published. Sad, indeed.

  6. says

    Eva, This brought back such great memories! Simon and Garfunkel were my favorite group when I was in high school and The Boxer and Bridge Over Troubled Water were the songs I loved the most. I never knew the story of their separation and that is so sad. Thanks for sharing–we can learn a lot from it. Katherine

  7. says

    Personally, I’ve noticed that this type of split between longtime friends and/or colleagues doesn’t happen out of the blue. There may seem to be a single cause but it’s more like an ongoing problem reached a breaking point.

  8. Lisa Wingate says

    “The beauty of what was done is lost in the faulty emotions and attitudes of the do-ers.” This is such a great point, Eva, and I love Simon and Garfunkle and that song. I sang it to my boys many times when they were tiny. There’s so much meaning in those words. How strange that they were at the heart of a sad breakup.


  9. says

    Thank you for this article! You are so right; while as writers we should, in love, give honor to whom honor is due, as artists we should, in love, acknowledge that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, remembering that it is a gift to be an artist, an inspirer, and anything good we have produced is all a shadowy wanna-be of the creations of Jesus…the same One who allowed us to create…

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