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40 Years Ago: Paul Simon Launches First Solo Tour

Columbia Records

On May 6, 1973  in Boston, Paul Simon kicked off his first tour as a solo artist. He and longtime partner in musical splendor Art Garfunkel parted ways in 1970 following a highly successful run as pop’s premier duo. The Simon & Garfunkel musical relationship dated back to 1957 as Tom & Jerry, but it wasn’t until the 1965 single of ‘The Sounds Of Silence’ that the gates swung open. Their final album, ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water,’ was released in early 1970, and despite its huge success, time had frayed the duo and they split.

Simon issued his first solo, self-titled, LP in January 1972, which spawned the hits ‘Mother and Child Reunion,’ and ‘Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard,’ but it wouldn’t be until more than a year later that Simon hit the stage as a solo act. Despite a hit album, not to mention a catalog of S&G hits, Simon was initially somewhat tentative about the tour, fearing that a Simon tour, without Garfunkel, would be a flop.

Album No. 2 was rush-released to coincide with the tour. ‘There Goes Rhymin’ Simon‘ hit store shelves the day before the tour and proved to be another rousing smash with songs like ‘Kodachrome’ and ‘Loves Me Like a Rock’ assuring that. Simon brought along vocal groups Urubamba and the Jesse Dixon Singers on tour, wanting to show off his growing interest in what would become known as world music.

The set list that first night consisted of just what you would imagine, solo tracks and S&G hits. An official live LP from the tour, ‘Paul Simon in Concert: Live Rhymin,’ arrived the following spring.

Next: Top 10 Paul Simon Songs

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