Why Did Simon & Garfunkel Break Up

Simon & Garfunkel, the iconic folk duo of the 1960s, captured the hearts of millions with their soulful harmonies and poetic lyrics. They seemed inseparable, their voices blending seamlessly as they delivered timeless classics like ‘The Sound of Silence’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’

Yet, underneath the surface of their musical brilliance lay a complex and tumultuous relationship that ultimately led to their heartbreaking breakup. This article delves into the reasons behind the dissolution of Simon & Garfunkel, exploring the constant ups and downs that defined their partnership, the moments of disconnection that fueled their separation, and the lingering question that haunts fans to this day: why did Simon & Garfunkel break up?

Simon & Garfunkel: The Constant Ups and Downs of Their Relationship

Simon & Garfunkel’s tumultuous relationship was a rollercoaster of love and strife as they constantly struggled to navigate the treacherous waters of their partnership.

Their turbulent dynamics were fueled by a combination of collaborative successes and personal conflicts.

On the one hand, the duo achieved remarkable success together, selling millions of albums and captivating audiences with their harmonies and poetic lyrics.

Their songs, such as ‘The Sound of Silence,’ ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ and ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ became anthems of the countercultural movement and cemented their place in music history.

However, behind the scenes, their creative differences and intense rivalry often overshadowed their accomplishments.

Simon and Garfunkel’s personal conflicts played a significant role in their eventual breakup.

The two artists, both with strong and distinctive personalities, often clashed over the direction of their music and their individual artistic visions.

While Paul Simon was known for his songwriting prowess and desire to experiment with different musical styles, Art Garfunkel focused more on the purity of their harmonies and the traditional folk sound.

These differing perspectives created tension and led to a breakdown in communication between the two.

Moreover, their intense rivalry exacerbated these conflicts, as both Simon and Garfunkel sought recognition and validation as solo artists.

The desire to establish their own identities outside of the Simon & Garfunkel brand ultimately became a driving force behind their decision to part ways.

Their first split was because Simon recorded songs solo, without telling Garfunkel

Left out of the decision-making, his professional partner felt betrayed and undervalued. He was shocked and hurt by the hidden surprise of a record-recorded solo. Simon’s choice to record songs without informing Garfunkel was the catalyst for the duo’s initial split.

It was a clear lack of communication that deeply impacted their friendship and laid the groundwork for decades of contention between them.

Garfunkel believed that friendship involved honesty and transparency, and Simon’s secret solo ventures shattered that trust. The fact that Simon didn’t value Garfunkel’s input as much as his own songwriting hurt him deeply. It was a pivotal moment that highlighted the power dynamics within their partnership and ultimately led to their first breakup.

The aftermath of this split was profound, as it created a lasting rift between Simon and Garfunkel that would continue to affect their relationship and collaboration for years to come. The lack of communication and the betrayal experienced by Garfunkel set the stage for a tumultuous journey ahead for the iconic duo.

They reconnected and released some of their most memorable songs, only to break up again

Just after reuniting and releasing some of their most memorable songs, the iconic duo once again went their separate ways.

Simon & Garfunkel experienced a period of collaborative success during their second stint together, producing a string of iconic songs that would go on to define their legacy. Hits like ‘Mrs. Robinson,’ ‘The Boxer,’ and ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ showcased the duo’s unparalleled harmonies and their ability to craft emotionally resonant folk-rock ballads. These songs not only showcased their musical prowess but also became anthems for a generation, capturing the essence of the turbulent 1960s.

However, personal tensions and creative differences plagued the duo throughout their reunion. Simon and Garfunkel’s relationship had always been an emotional rollercoaster, marked by a love-hate dynamic that often fueled their artistic chemistry. This time was no different, as unresolved conflicts and a breakdown in communication led to their eventual split.

Simon felt frustrated by Garfunkel’s continued interest in acting, which he believed overshadowed their musical partnership. The strain caused by Garfunkel’s absences in order to pursue film projects and Simon’s growing desire for creative control eventually became too much to bear, leading to the dissolution of Simon & Garfunkel.

Fans were devastated by the end of an era when the news of their breakup broke. Simon & Garfunkel had become synonymous with a particular sound and spirit, and their separation left a void in the music industry. Their songs had not only provided a soundtrack to the times but had also resonated deeply with listeners, capturing the spirit of an entire generation.

The breakup marked the end of a remarkable partnership, leaving fans longing for the harmonies and poetic lyrics that had defined Simon & Garfunkel’s music.

Another attempt at reconciliation was ‘torturous’

Their second attempt at reconciliation proved to be a tumultuous journey filled with challenges and obstacles, leaving them feeling like they were caught between a rock and a hard place.

Despite their initial success with the Central Park concert and the desire to work together again, Simon and Garfunkel found themselves facing the same old issues that had plagued their relationship in the past. The strained relationship and communication issues that had caused their initial breakup resurfaced, making it difficult for them to sustain their musical collaborations.

Unresolved conflicts from their previous years together continued to haunt them, causing tension and frustration. The duo’s different musical tastes and their competitive nature only added fuel to the fire. Simon and Garfunkel were unable to find common ground and navigate through their disagreements, leading to a breakdown in their second attempt at reconciliation.

The album they had planned to record became a torturous process, showcasing the deep-rooted issues that still existed between them.

Despite their best efforts, it became clear that the time apart had not been enough to heal their wounds and bridge the gap between them. The unresolved conflicts and lingering tensions ultimately proved too much to overcome. Their second attempt at reconciliation highlighted the complexities of their relationship and the challenges they faced in trying to rebuild what was once a musical powerhouse.

It became evident that their journey toward reconciliation would require much more than just a desire to work together again; it would require a deep level of understanding, compromise, and a willingness to confront and resolve their past conflicts.

Simply put, Simon says they ‘don’t get along’

Deep down, the two members knew that their relationship was beyond repair.

Simon and Garfunkel’s breakup can be attributed to a multitude of factors, but at the core of it all, their inability to get along is undeniable. Their communication issues were evident throughout their career, with each harboring their own personal conflicts and ego clashes.

Creative differences played a significant role as well. As talented musicians, they had their own unique visions and artistic directions. This led to clashes in the studio and on stage as they struggled to find common ground in their creative process. Their professional rivalry, while driving them to great success, also added to the tension between them. Both Simon and Garfunkel were ambitious and had their own aspirations outside the duo, often resulting in conflicts of interest.

Despite occasional attempts at reconciliation, the rift between Simon and Garfunkel only seemed to widen over time. Their differences became insurmountable, and their shared joy and harmony became a distant memory.

It is clear that the breakup was a result of a combination of communication issues, creative differences, personal conflicts, ego clashes, and professional rivalry. As much as their fans may hope for a reunion, it seems unlikely that Simon and Garfunkel will ever be able to overcome these deep-rooted issues and find common ground again.

When did they last perform together?

While their last performance together may have left fans wanting more, it seems unlikely that Simon and Garfunkel will ever share the stage again. The duo’s last performance took place at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, but unfortunately, it wasn’t without its challenges.

Garfunkel was experiencing vocal problems at the time due to his diagnosis of vocal cord paresis. This health issue forced the remaining tour dates to be postponed, and sadly, it marked the end of an era for Simon and Garfunkel.

The historical significance of their last performance cannot be understated. Simon and Garfunkel’s music had a profound impact on the music industry, creating a lasting legacy that continues to resonate with audiences today. Their harmonies and poetic lyrics touched the hearts of millions, and their songs have become timeless classics.

Fueled by personal differences and tension, the duo’s breakup left fans with mixed emotions. On the one hand, they were grateful for the music Simon and Garfunkel had given them over the years, but on the other hand, they yearned for a reunion that seemed increasingly unlikely.

The possibility of a Simon and Garfunkel reunion remains uncertain. Despite Garfunkel’s hope for another tour in the future, Simon has made it clear that their personal differences make it unlikely. Their conflicting personalities and difficulties in getting along have created a solid barrier.

While fans may continue to dream of a reunion, it’s important to appreciate the music that Simon and Garfunkel created together and the lasting impact they’ve had on the music industry. Sometimes, it’s better to cherish the memories of what was than to yearn for what could have been.


In conclusion, the tumultuous relationship between Simon & Garfunkel is a true testament to the complex dynamics that can exist between creative partners.

Their constant ups and downs, marked by periods of separation and reunion, have left fans yearning for more while also questioning the sustainability of their collaboration.

On the one hand, their ability to create some of the most iconic and timeless songs in music history is a testament to their undeniable chemistry and talent. Hits like ‘The Sound of Silence’ and ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ showcase their ability to harmonize and create magic together.

However, on the other hand, their frequent breakups and clashes highlight the deep-rooted conflicts and differences that ultimately led to their demise as a duo.

The contrasting nature of their relationship is what makes it so fascinating and captivating. It is a story of love and hate, of unity and separation, of success and failure. Simon & Garfunkel’s music continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, even though the duo themselves may never perform together again.

Their story serves as a reminder that even the most talented and passionate individuals can struggle to coexist, leaving behind a bittersweet legacy that will forever be etched in the annals of music history.

John Godfrey

John Godfrey is a music fanatic, as well as the owner of Songpier.com which provides music guides. In high school, he learned how to play the drums which inspired him to learn about rock music. He began to write articles for various music magazines and during this period he realized he had a passion for writing music descriptions. He has a Master's degree in music education from the University of Redlands.