When they released their first official album Wednesday Morning, 3A.M. fifty years ago, little did Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel know that it would mark the birth of an institution. Indeed, the fact that half a decade later many of the duo’s folk-rock anthems can still hold their own against the heavily auto tuned, electronic dance beats of the present music scene is proof that old-school tracks are made to last.
That said Simon and Garfunkel’s debut album is of a vastly different sound compared with much of their later work. Heavily influenced by the folk music genre, it is an entirely acoustic record comprised of some covers mixed in with Simon’s early compositions.
Aside from a dubious cover of Bob Dylan’s The Time’s Are a Changin’ the most well-known track is of course The Sound of Silence, which was later reworked with full electric backing and released to phenomenal success.The version featured on this album however, is simpler and altogether more haunting; made so by the authentic acoustic sound and deliriously soaring tenor vocals from Garfunkel.
Whilst this album did not make many waves upon its release (it was nothing different compared to much of the folk music in released in the early 60s) contemporary listeners will find much to love in its harmonious scope. Although some of the slower songs, He Was My Brother for example, may jar with a classic Dubstep fan, the majority of the track list is very easy listening and completely different to any band out there today.
The simplistic style, poetic lyrics and crooning gorgeous mesh of the pair’s vocals is simply divine, and unlike much modern music causes much self-reflection. The line “Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again” was a stroke of genius on Simon’s behalf and stirs up far more emotion than a song about a snake wanting baked goods can ever dream of doing.
It is not the masterful creation of a band with decades of experience that those coming late to the S&G fandom will anticipate. But in its greenness is its beauty. Through listening to Wednesday Morning, 3A.M. we get a sense of where the duo’s passion for music and eloquent style began, and this in turn reminds the listener just what it is about music that they love.
Wednesday Morning, 3A.M. embodies the beauty of old school music. Its ability to transport you through a diverse range of emotions within a song is timeless, and is just one of the many reasons why the band, and the album itself are worth listening to. And if Art Garfunkels recent appearance on Sunday Night At The Palladium is anything to go by, it will have a place in music history for a long time to come.