Bookends – Simon & Garfunkel

10 albums that shaped my musical tastes and styles

This album was my gateway to pop music. I had been raised with classical music — piano lessons, band and orchestra — and didn’t listen to Top 40 radio until the summer after 8th grade. (I did like the Beatles, however, and my favorite group was Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass.)

I had a Tijuana Brass album on my birthday list, and my older sister gave me one, along with this unasked-for album by Simon & Garfunkel. But the latter album was so interesting, unusual and different from anything I had heard before, that it became the one I listened to more.

“Mrs. Robinson,” with its strange lyrics and instrumentation, hit the charts that summer. I started listening to Chicago’s WLS radio, and discovered that a.m. DJ Clark Weber played “Mrs. Robinson” at the same time every morning, a few minutes after my alarm went off. This drew me in, and I started listening to WLS and WCFL in just about every spare moment.

I loved the intelligent lyrics and sweet harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel’s songs, and still do. Most of my favorite songs of theirs are on other albums: “The Sound of Silence,” “I Am a Rock,” “For Emily, Wherever I may Find Her,” “Homeward Bound,” “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” “Song for the Asking,” etc. But the bittersweet song “America” from Bookends may be my favorite of all.

Favorite tracks: America, Fakin’ It, Old Friends

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