Paul Simon was riding high when Saturday Night Live booked him as a musical guest in November of 1986. His new album Graceland was a smash hit (despite generating a little bit of controversy) and his single “You Can Call Me Al” was all over the radio and MTV. He’d been a close friend of the SNL family since the dawn of the show 11 years earlier, so bringing him back yet again to play tracks from the new album was a no-brainer.
This huge success came at a real low point in his relationship with Art Garfunkel. They reunited in 1981 and launched an extremely lucrative world tour, but Simon changed his mind about cutting a new album and erased Garfunkel’s vocals on what eventually became Hearts and Bones. Needless to say, this incensed Garfunkel and the two of them were barely speaking.
One can only imagine how Garfunkel felt when he was asked to appear in a sketch with his old partner on SNL. The premise is absolutely hysterical: Paul is in line to see Three Amigos and is able to remember everyone that approaches him, even if they met just a single time in 1963 or they merely bought a copy of Bridge Over Troubled Water and they never actually interacted. At the end, Garfunkel walks up to him and he totally blanks, even when he sings the beginning of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”
The brief on-camera reunion didn’t exactly bring them back together. It was another four years before they sang a note of music together in public, and that was the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony when Paul didn’t have much of a choice. Paul refused to bring Art out during his 1991 Concert in the Park, though two years later they did a series of shows at New York’s Paramount Theatre. Fans are hoping to see one last Simon and Garfunkel tour, but for now Sting and Simon seems to be as close as they’re gonna get.