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Readers’ Poll: The 10 Greatest Simon and Garfunkel Songs

Your picks include ‘I Am a Rock,’ ‘America’ and ‘Mrs. Robinson’

Douglas R. Gilbert/Redferns

Four years after Simon and Garfunkel's 2010 summer tour was called off due to Art Garfunkel's vocal cord paresis, the tall singer has announced that he has healed and is hitting the road. There's no word whether Simon and Garfunkel plan on rebooking their cancelled shows, though, and Paul Simon is already spending his spring on the road with Sting.

On that note, we asked our readers to select their favorite Simon and Garfunkel songs. Here are the results. 

By ANDY GREENE

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4. ‘America’

Paul Simon has written a lot of great lines over the past 50 years, but the beginning of the final verse of Simon and Garfunkel's 1968 classic "America" has struck a chord with countless people over the years: "'Kathy, I'm lost,' I said, though I knew she was sleeping/ 'I'm empty and aching and I don't know why.'" The song is about a road trip with Simon's girlfriend, Kathy Chitty, and it captured America's sense of restlessness and confusion during the year that saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy, as well as the escalation of the war in Vietnam. It barely cracked the Hot 100 back in 1968, but it's become one of their most beloved songs. (Check out this incredible version from the Bridge School Benefit in 1993.)

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3. ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’

The first time that Art Garfunkel heard "Bridge Over Troubled Water," he told Paul Simon that he didn't want to sing it. "He couldn't hear it for himself," Simon told Rolling Stone in 1972. "He felt I should have done it. And many times, I think I'm sorry I didn't do it. Many times on a stage, though, when I'd be sitting off to the side and Larry Knechtel would be playing the piano and Artie would be singing 'Bridge,' people would stomp and cheer when it was over, and I would think, 'That's my song, man. Thank you very much. I wrote that song.'"

The song was one of the biggest hits of 1970, staying at the top of the Hot 100 for six weeks. It also won Grammys for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Art is probably quite glad Paul convinced him to do it. It remains his signature song and it always brings down the house at his solo shows. 

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2. ‘The Boxer’

There's a lot of myth and rumor surrounding "The Boxer." Many are convinced it's an attack on Bob Dylan, even believing that the "lie lie lie" refrain refers to the "lie" of Dylan changing his name. The theory goes on to state that the "whores on 7th Avenue" are Columbia Records.

There's not a shred of truth to this, and Dylan himself covered the song on his 1970 LP Self Portrait. In fact, it's simply about a young man who struggles after moving to New York, eventually comparing himself to a boxer who gets up and continues to fight despite getting repeatedly knocked down. It's a great lyric, but the most impressive thing about the song is the production. Simon, Garfunkel and producer Roy Halee spent over 100 hours on the track, going from studio to studio and even St. Paul's Chapel in New York City to get the proper echo effect. All the work paid off and it reached Number Seven on the charts. 

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1. ‘The Sound of Silence’

Three months after John F. Kennedy was assassinated, America was beginning to recover and the Beatles were taking the country by storm, but Paul Simon was still in shock. He'd been working on a new song for a couple of weeks and he went into his bathroom to fiddle around with the echo effect in there. The lines "Hello darkness my old friend/ I've come to talk to you again" came to him very quickly and the rest of the song fell into place, though Simon and Garfunkel didn't actually record the song for another 13 months. It was one of the best songs on their debut LP, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., but it didn't sell and the group essentially split. But in 1965, the Byrds scored a huge hit with "Mr. Tambourine Man" and folk rock songs began taking over the charts. Producer Tom Wilson added a band to "The Sound of Silence" without the group even knowing about it, and the song blew up on radio. The excited duo reunited and the rest is history. 

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