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Clive Davis Looks Back on Simon & Garfunkel’s Breakup in New Memoir

Simon and Garfunkel
Hulton Archive / Getty Images

There must be something in the air lately when it comes to Simon & Garfunkel.

First Art Garfunkel used his recent speech at the Paley Center to delve into what caused his breakup with Paul Simon, and now their former label boss, Clive Davis, has released an excerpt from his upcoming memoir in which he relives his own dealings with the duo during their contentious dissolution.

Davis’ new book, ‘The Soundtrack of My Life,’ draws from one of the most distinguished business careers of the rock era; as an executive at Columbia and Arista in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s, he presided over some of the most incredibly successful albums in history — including the soundtrack to Mike Nichols’ ‘The Graduate,’ which Davis credits with helping turn Simon & Garfunkel into superstars.

Unfortunately, ‘The Graduate’ also presaged their downfall. As Davis notes in the excerpt, published at Billboard, Garfunkel’s decision to take a role in Nichols’ ‘Catch-22′ dragged out sessions for the ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ album, alienating Simon and taking what Davis deemed “a terrible toll on Paul and Artie’s relationship.”

Although ‘Bridge’ was a huge hit, it marked the end of their partnership due to what Davis called “a case of two young artists whose ambitions and egos got in the way of the brilliance of their collaboration.” According to Davis, Simon came to his office at Columbia to tell him they were splitting up, and Davis’ response was pragmatic — “I understood Paul’s frustrations, and his desire to have more control over his music. I simply believed there were ways to satisfy those concerns without breaking up the duo.”

That was the wrong response for Simon, who Davis says “wanted unqualified support from me, something that for both personal and professional reasons it was impossible for me to provide. It was simple: I did not want Simon & Garfunkel to break up.”

That’s just a small part of the excerpt, available at this link — and weighing in at a whopping 608 pages, the book is guaranteed to contain countless stories like it. Look for it on store shelves next Tuesday (Feb. 19).

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