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Simon & Garfunkel

Soft Rock and Folk Duo Simon and Garfunkel

Simon and Garfunkel

I certainly remember these guys as I was growing up and getting a taste for listening to music on the radio. At around this time in the early 1970’s the duo had actually split but their most famous album Bridge Over Troubled Waters was still being regularly played on the radio. Unfortunately these guys seemed to be another example of musicians almost on opposing sides forcing them apart from day one. But despite this they were able to produce this fantastic album that regularly receives airplay today some 45 years later.

Paul Simon

Paul Simon
(image from his website)

Paul Simon was born October 13, 1941 in Newark, New Jersey. He met Simon Garfunkel when they were both 11 and they became close Friends and thus began their musical association together both in playing music and singing harmonies, often performing at school and college dances. At that time their idols were the Everly Brothers whose Folky Rockabilly sound and vocal harmonies inspired Paul and Art. So too did the music coming out from the Folk scene at the time plus Rock and Roll of course, other influences were Blues and Jazz, so they began to to pull their own style incorporating two part harmonies which they would later be remembered for. While still at school Paul’s father wrote a song for his son and Art to sing and perform to, it is called “The Girl for Me,” this was the first copyrighted song for Simon and Garfunkel which is now in the Library of Congress. When they were still in their mid teens they recorded their first song “Hey, Schoolgirl” which was done under the name Tom and Jerry which was the name initially given to them by their record label Big Company, this song actually reached No 49 in the Pop charts.

Art Garfunkel

Art Garfunkel
The Early years 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival

Arthur Ira (Art) Garfunkel was born on November 5, 1941 in Forest Hills,Queens, New York. Art enjoyed singing from as early as five years old, practicing his singing in the echo filled school halls and stairways, he actually learned the entire words to the song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and “Unchained Melody” he used to record himself singing and then he played it back and in so doing he improved his vocal range and weeded out his imperfections. In 1954 at his Bar Mitzvah (His Jewish Coming of age ceremony) he performed over 4 hours of songs from his repertoire in front of his family.In his early teens he suffered a lung infection which cut down his ability to run, so instead of fast paced games his threw hoops in the schoolyard and played small games of 3 on 3.

Both Simon and Garfunkel were interested in various type of music of that era, plus folk music was always an interest of Art Garfunkel.
Paul Simon would often be found at a place called Greenwich Village soaking up ideas for his music. At this time Art Garfunkel returned
to Columbia University in order to keep his student draft deferment as the Vietnam War began. As seemed normal within their circles
they each started to smoke marijuana, they were also performing at the Alpha Epsilon Pi fraternity house which was where Art Garfunkel had previously attended. By late 1963, they began to bill themselves as “Kane & Garr”, signing up for Gerde’s Folk City, a Greenwich club that hosted Monday night performances. The duo performed three new songs — “Sparrow”, “He Was My Brother”, and “The Sound of Silence”. The producer at Columbia Records “Tom Wilson” heard of the duo and convinced Columbia to sign the duo for a record deal.

As a result of this collaboration, they produced their first album

simon-&-garfunkel -wednesday-morning-3am
Simon & Garfunkel
Wednesday Morning 3am

entitled “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M” October 1964, The album contained five original compositions of Paul Simon, with the remaining being an assortment of traditional folk songs. Prior to its release Paul wargued that they should no longer use other names and that they should only use Simon and Garfunkel from then on. Columbia Records set up a promotional showcase at Folk City on March 31, 1964, this was to be the duo’s first public concert
as Simon & Garfunkel. Unfortunately the promotions didn’t really go in their favour and anticipating failure, Paul Simon moved to Essex near London England and while their attended a variety of small folk clubs. This is where he met and fell in love with Kathy Chitty who would become the object of his affection and the subject of multiple future songs.

Over the next few year Simon and Garfunkel would move between America and England, educational studies and music where they found limited success on both counts. Paul Simon wrote and played his own work resulting in ”

Simon and Garfunkel in Holland

“(1965) which contained several future Simon and garfunkel tracks, namely “Iam a rock” and April She Will Come”

Unknown to Paul Simon at the time,his producer Wilson, decided to over dub “The Sound of Silence” with the backing musicians that had
worked on one of Bob Dylans albums, once released it went from strength to strength and while Paul Simon was a little aggrieved at the time he also

Paul Simon With Kathy Chitty on The Fron Of His Song Book Cover

welcomed the resulting success. By January of 1966 the record had topped the Hot 100, it sold over one million copies. Simon and Garfunkel once again reunited that winter in New York, meaning that for a while Paul, Simon had left England and his love Kathy Chitty.

CBS obviously wanted to ride the wave of success created by the “The Sound of Silence” and required another album from the duo, they duly obliged by Mid January 1966 with a new album called “Sound of Silence” It contained a number of re-cut tracks from Paul Simons Songbook plus 4 new tracks. “Homeward Bound” became one of Americas Top Ten Songs. quickly followed by “I am a Rock”
However even though the songs were doing well they did receive a certain amount of negativity from some quarters stating that their sound was manufactured imitation of folk music. Meanwhile Simon and Garfunkel continued to tour the circuit nationwide.

As they both felt that their previous record was a ruched effort they wanted to take their time with the next project which saw Paul Simon taking over much of the production work as well as the writing of the material. After nine months they produced another album entitled “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” was issued in October 1966. Following the release of several singles and playing to full college shows the duo felt that they had finally made it.
Paul Simon was the writer, he had the task of producing songs for them to sing and he was good at it but eventually he dried up a little
and the record companies normally wanted artists to produce three albums each year, Simon and Garfunkel only managed two, so more pressure was applied, this resulted in Paul Simon accepting a contract to write three songs for a film, but these were received coolly.

Over the next eighteen months they produced another record “Bookends” and they really took their time getting every part of the production correct before accepting the final version. Simon and Garfunkel really began to enjoy success over the next few years including the years up to around 1968 and incorporating several historical moments like the shooting of Martin Luther King and the summer of love etc.

Album Cover Bridge Over Troubled Water

They became known as the biggest Rock Duo of the time and when they released “Bridge over Troubled Water” their final studio album, which was released in January 1970, it topped the charts in over 11 countries, including the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. It was the best-selling album in 1970 to 1972 which was at that time the best-selling album of all time.

Around this time the two decided that they had had enough of the music industry and they decided to split and pursue different directions and careers including filming, Paul Simon continued with a solo career writing songs and performing some of them or writing songs for other people. It was odd because their music continued to sell well, but the two would hardly speak for several years, possibly only two or three times in the year. But something that was not thought to be possible was that Simon and Garfunkel would often get back together for a project before going their separate ways again. This would happen several times throughout the seventies and while they produced great music there issues would always drive them apart and even they could not quite put there finger on the reason why.

In 1990, the duo were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The duo would often reunite before going their own way once again, this was a pattern often to be repeated and when they picked up various awards throughout the years, they would only speak briefly before leaving.

The Old Friends tour began in October 2003 and played to sold-out audiences across the United States for 30 dates until mid-December. The tour was estimated to have earned an estimated $123 million. Then following a twelve-city run in Europe during 2004, they ended their nine-month tour with a free concert at the Colosseum in Rome which attracted 600,000 fans, even more than their The Concert in Central Park.

Over the next few years more appearances followed but Art

Simon & Garfunkel
Jazz Festival 2010
New Orleans Their Last Public Appearance

Garfunkel began having trouble with his voice which was eventually discovered to be vocal cord paresis. This would plague him for the next few years and lead to intermittent appearances for him. Simon and Garfunkel played their last show together in 2010 and while they would never rule out another reunited appearance Paul Simon has been too busy but who knows?
All we do know is that Simon and Garfunkel have fans throughout the world and they would love to see them back together again.

Checkout These Videos:

Toy Soldiers

R.I.P. TOY SOLDIERS (2007-2014)????

The Toy Soldiers photo from TS website

The Toy Soldiers from good old Philadelphia looks as if they have put themselves in the toy chest, well at least for now! They have been creating their own extremely lively brand of Blues, rock n’ roll and soul sounds for over five years and they have decided to take a break for an undetermined length of time, thus leaving a question mark as to whether they will be back in the future, but I’m sure you will agree they will certainly be missed.

It took a while as mist things do when setting up, they went through numerous musicians until they found their final five leaving the line up as follows;

Ron Gallo on Vocals, Guitar and Harmonica                                                  Dominic Billet is banging hard on the Drums as well as Vocal and the  Accordion                                                                                                                           Bill McCloskey on Base Guitar and Vocals                                                Matt Kelly on Guitar                                                                                                  Luke Leidy is on The Piano, the Organ and Vocals

They are well known throughout the states as a Blues, Rock n’ Roll Soul Band and their music and sound is 100% their own, their songs are written in house by most if not all the band members at one time or another.

There last Album “The maybe Boys” was a great example of their lively style and it was largely their own work with a few guest musicians as follows;

Ali Wadsworth- Backup Vocals                                                                       Vinchelle Woods-Backup Vocals                                                                                 Reed Kendall- Acoustic Guitar                                                                                     Pat Hughes- Trumpet                                                                                               Larry Toft- Trombone                                                                                                 Ben Vinci- Clarinet                                                                                                            It was released in September 2013 and is another great example of their soulful brand of Rock n’ Roll with a Blues twist, I loved their sound the first time I heard them playing and it would be a tragedy if this band failed to get together in the near future.

They have played in every type of venue imaginable, from the local bars around Philadelphia to festivals and concerts throughout the United States.

Their music is sold largely through Bandcamp Accounts which is a free app which you can download when you make a purchase and then you can support a band or an artist and have repeat downloads on your phones or tablets as well as receive updates on new releases etc. It sounds similar to itunes but maybe a little cheaper.

They produced an article say farewell with little if any reason for the breakup, maybe they git worn out with their fast paced playing and the constant travelling they did, but they did go on to say a little about what the future holds for each band member.

Ron Gallo is said to be continuing with his own production which is his own album entitled Ronny, see below for more on that one.


Dom Billet and Matt Kelly will go forwards with their own projects with their psychedelic Blues & Punk sounds, last year they opened up for the blues rocker Patrick Sweaney with more to follow no doubt. Dom is also plans ahead to backing Andrew Combs in Europe, Dietrich Strause in the Northeast, then he will continue travelling and backing numerous artists as well as producing some of his own work in due course.

Matt Kelly has been busy curating and completing a couple of projects one of them is “Spooky Suitcase” and the other is not yet titled.

The Don, Ron & Matt will have completed the Beach Binge Tour by now which was running down the East Coast from South Carolina to Rhode Island with Joe Fletcher and Andrew Combs

Beach Binge Tour

So as you can see they were mostly planning to continue playing in one form or another without ruling a comeback tour at some point. Meanwhile fans will have to make do with the Toy Soldiers existing albums

Their first album was “Whisper Down The Lane” and was described as “a gritty, dirty collection of liquor-fueled Americana music shifting flawlessly from roots to blues, to country, to rockabilly in an undeniable barn burner”by WXPN’s Bruce Warren.

Next up came the self produced “Get Through The Time” EP was a look into a more pensive, heartfelt side of song writing. Then followed “The Midweek Mountain Getaway” This was recorded live with fellow artist Jordan Hull which fully showed the live aspect of the band.

The next complete album to be released was “The Maybe Boys” This album was produced and recorded by Bill Moriarty and was shown to bridge the gap between all the bands previous efforts to date and combined the bands eclectic song writing style plus the explosive energy coming through with the live show’s

The band was named “Top Bands To Watch in 2013” by USA Today

Ron Gallo

Ron Gallo is going to carry on himself as well as with new musicians in fact he has already produced a new Album called Ronny and once again this can be found on Bandcamp.

Another Great Band From Philadelphia The Runaways

Do you remember the Runaways From Philadelphia?

The Runaways Logo
The Runaways Album Cover CherryBombJapan

I’m sure many folks do, even as far as England, Western Europe and especially in Japan. But they are almost overlooked here in the states, an often-forgotten band from Philadelphia’s history. They were always an all-female rock band, the Runaways gave a start to the famous Joan Jett. The Runaways were initially managed by Kim Fowley  after he helped put the band together but they broke ties with Fowley in 1977. They were successful around the world, becoming the most popular in Japan, while only maintaining mild fame here in the United States.

The Runaways
The Runaways Original Photo

While the Runaways time together was fairly short lived, forming in 1975 and playing until 1979 – their impact was great. Not only did the Runaway’s start Joan Jetts musical career, but they were wildly inspirational to hoards of young girl rockers dreaming of a place in the band. They went a long way in putting female musicians on the map and they showed the world that the spirit of rock and roll was for much more than just their male counterparts.
Their sound was similar to many of the emerging punk music that was popular during that period and being influenced by David Bowie. They were a perfect example of the symbiotic nature of rock. They took aspects of other’s styles and then blended it with their own to create a unique and distinguished sound, which in turn, influenced many more young musicians to come.

Meet The Members of the Runaway’s and Discover What Happened To Them.

Joan Jett

Joan Jett 2013

Joan Jett was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Though she didn’t grow up there, she came back long enough for the Runaways to make their start there. Joan got involved with music and performing early on, watching movies and going to shows. She knew from a young age she wanted to perform and inspire others.
At 13 years old, Joan began practicing guitar, her parents bought Joan her first guitar one Christmas. Joan tried learning guitar the traditional way, by taking lessons, but quickly learned it wasn’t her style, this was made clear when her teacher kept trying to teach her folk songs, when all Joan wanted to do was to play Rock music. Joan continued playing, but she continued in the only way that felt right – by teaching herself. It was this attitude that secured Joan’s and the Runaway’s success in rock music.
Joan became the rhythm guitar player for the Runaways, and later was to sing lead vocals as well. Throughout the entire band’s career, Joan maintained her dedication to the genre of punk rock, her one true love. It was one of the factors of their split in 1979. She later went on to have a very successful solo career and still performs today.

Cherie Curie

Cherie Currie (image from their website)

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Cherie Curie had been a David Bowie fan from very early in her life. It was her admiration for Bowie that sparked inspiration for much of the music the Runaways produced. Her tributes to David Bowie, through her hairstyles and outfits, are a true example of the way the spirit of rock spreads from generation to generation, keeping it alive even today.
Cherie auditioned for the Runaways by singing the song “Cherrie Bomb,” which Joan and Kim wrote on the spot from her. It was a moment of true genius, as this song became their biggest hit and still sings to the hearts of rockers everywhere.
In 1977, Cherie left the Runaways to begin her own solo career, no being there for the breakup in 1979. Later in life, she began acting, having a prolific career in both acting and music. She even opened her own art gallery later in life.

Lita Ford

Lita Ward
Photo From Lita’s Website

Lita Ford  was originally from London in England but later moved to California and then on to Philadelphia. She began playing and performing rock early in life, when she was just a teenager. Her ability to shred away on the guitar with passion blew Joan and Sandy away at her audition. They knew from the start that Lita was going to be their lead guitarist for the entirety of the Runaway’s time together.
Lita now plays music for videos games, touching the souls and minds of the young generation. She’s a perfect example of how the spirit of rock has the power to span generations and even mediums! Lita now has her own website

Sandy West

Sandy West (Image from their website)

Sandy West, along with Joan, had this vision for the Runaways and was there to make it happen, from the beginning to the end. She has a wide range of influences, from the Monkees to Led Zeppelin to Aerosmith. Each one played a part in making her the musician she was, and you can hear them distinctly in her drumming styles.
Instead of allowing the fact that rock was male-dominated discourage her, she used it as fuel to hone her skills and express herself even more. This is the kind of passion that carries through in her music and makes the Runaways so one-of-a-kind.
Sandy had a huge influence on the band, from helping to organize and find members with Joan, to writing some of the most popular and influential tracks, like “Born to Be Bad” and “California Paradise.”
In 2006,Sadly after a battle with lung cancer, Sandy passed away.

Jackie Fox

Jackie Fox(Image From Their Website)

Jackie Fox was the first and most well known bassist for the Runaways. Jackie originally auditioned to be the guitar player, however when they didn’t find her to be a good fit, they asked her to audition for bass. It was then that Jackie found her place within the Runaways and within rock.
Jackie left the Runaways in 1977 said to be fed up with continual bad feelings between band members. to pursue other jobs in the entertainment industry. After a while, however, she returned to what she really wanted to do – attend school. She graduated from UCLA and then attended Harvard Law School.
She’s played reunion concerts with her fellow bandmates and has had a successful career as a photographer. Her passion for life and the things she loves to do have made her a unique influence on the entire history of rock. Jackie is also known as Jackie Fuchs and writes for The Huffington Post Jackie has also written some of her posts on her blog entitled The Runaways Remembered which provides and insight to the internal strife that was going on.

The band has had many bass players throughout the years until they disbanded in 1979.   See below for the names and dates  of the members, it would be unfair to leave anyone out.

  • Joan Jett – rhythm and lead guitar, lead and backing vocals (1975–1979); bass guitar (1977)
  • Sandy West – drums, percussion, backing and lead vocals (1975–1979)
  • Micki Steele – lead vocals (1975); bass guitar (1975)
  • Lita Ford – bass guitar (1975, 1978); lead and rhythm guitar, backing and lead vocals (1975–1979)
  • Peggy Foster – bass guitar (1975)
  • Cherie Currie – lead and backing vocals, keyboards, tambourine, snare drum (1975–1977)
  • Jackie Fox – lead and rhythm guitar (1975); bass guitar, backing and lead vocals (1975–1977)
  • Vicki Blue – bass guitar, backing vocals (1977–1978)
  • Laurie McAllister – bass guitar (1978–1979)

Just Check Out This Trailer For The Runaways

It doesn’t matter what the final reason is, there are many pressures for any young group of people who are flung together, working and travelling for long hours, money, music, and other disputes always take their toll, tempers fray and strong wills clash so it was inevitable that the band members come and go, just like many bands before them, so as a result of these pressures the band members decided to call it a day citing differences of opinion over the direction their music and style should follow as the reason. The band ultimately decided to go their separate ways, but their legacy remains as strong as ever.
They have inspired so many young girls to pick up guitars. They showed the world that the spirit of rock is accessible to everyone. It doesn’t have a gender. And nothing is more apt when talking about the true spirit of rock.

The Runaways still have a live websiteif you would care to view it. It just shows that another band of yesterday can still make history

Original Rock Bands From The Past

Introducing The John Salamone Band

Original Rock Bands From the Past of Philadelphia

The John Salamone Band Band

The John Salamone Band was a rock band dedicated to reviving the sound of classic rock music. The band actually which broke up in 2012 following a difference of musical opinion and direction. But initially all went well and the band was happiest when they were creating their own brand of music. They were made of members who were passionate about the history and roots of rock. No other style of music since rock has had quite the same feel. Rock bands have a certain kind of energy that still goes unrivaled today. John Salamone was an integral part of the rock scene in Philadelphia up until the year 2012. So take a look back at their particular flavor of rock with us, starting with the John Salamone Band.

The JS Band looked to all the greats that have made music before them for inspiration. The Group has sadly succumbed to become another band of the past that inspires people moving forward. The sound of rock is timeless. Unlike some of today’s popular music, which is heavily dependent on the current trends and crazes whereas rock can live forever.

It was great to see that each member of the band believed that music is much more than an art form, it’s a connection to the past and through their music careers, they spent a lot of time researching musical history to make their own music rich with the sounds of the past. As they now become one of the bands of yesterday they have left a lasting legacy that we each carry with us. The group have now become part of the tradition and spirit of rock music so embark on this journey with us, as we reach to the past and look to the future.

The members of the band was made up of a group of dedicated and passionate performers who each brought there own musical variations with them but to fully understand their style and mission, take a moment to learn about each of them.

The lead guitarist of the band was Nick Vacante. Some referred to him as a spiritual guru. Taking after one of his role models, George Harrison, he has avidly studied eastern music and philosophies. He brought that unique perspective to the band, as he was an accomplished sitar player. The band got its unique transcendental element from his use of the melodic, spacey textures of David Gilmour of Pink Floyd. But he brought a whole different dynamic to the table with the explosive blues improve of Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.

Brian Beard, who the band mostly called “Beard,” was their bass player. While bass players in other bands like to hang back and only provide a background sound, Beard was so much more. He was a well-rounded musician and songwriter. When you listen to the band, you can hear his eclectic influences, giving his music so much more depth. He was the band’s out-of-the-box thinker. While the other members liked to keep to the classics, he brought an inventive and imaginative aspect that they just couldn’t do without. Through it all, he maintained a familiar groove and feel, which gelled well with the rest of the band’s styles. His favorites were Kim Deal of the Pixies and Colin Greenwood of Radiohead.

Zack Zimmer had been banging away on his drums for as long as he could remember. He was the support system of the group, providing the steady beat that they all relied on. He was great at feeding into their melodies, so they could get carried away with what they were doing, confident that he would be there providing the beat. He drummed with such precision, but also added a certain level of dynamics that made the band’s music interesting and complimented the melody and vocals well. Zimmer was different from other drummers in that the other aspects of the music were just as important as what he was doing. He was able to see himself as a part of a whole, understanding the beauty of what he didn’t play as well as what he did. His biggest influences were Nick Mason of Pink Floyd and Josh Eppard of Coheed and Cambria.

The title member of the band and the singer / songwriter / guitarist was John Salamone. Salamone came from a family of music enthusiasts. Growing up, he was surrounded by rhythms and melodies, making it a huge facet of his personality. Since the age of seven, Salamone had been singing and expressing himself through music. He showed a lot of gratitude to his father, John Salamone Sr., who exposed him to just about every style of music growing up. That’s how he got to be so well rounded and easily adaptable. It was where his passion began. He also, by chance, inherited his “golden pipes” from his dad. Salamone’s passion was singing and songwriting. He was prolific in his style, not adhering to any single genre. He wrote hundreds of songs across genres and styles. His major influences, aside from his own father, were John Lennon and Paul McCartney, Thom Yorke, Beck, Daniel Johns, and Eddie Vedder.
He’s quoted as saying, “Our band is lost in a broad spectrum of rock… we don’t try to write a certain way or in a certain style. I certainly don’t try to sing like anyone else, but we are the product of the music that we love and listen to. I have a hard time describing the sound, because I think that the listener has different references that they’ll compare it to… We all listen to different stuff, but who doesn’t love a good song? The sound of our band is good songs. Have you ever heard the White Album before? There’s not one style of music on there or even one sound… yet it all sounds like The Beatles.”

The sound, style, and passion of John Salamone Band was perfectly summed up by that quote. As we interact with the music, both as musicians and listeners, we’re each coming from a different perspective – a different set of music we listen to, a different belief system, a different cultural background, but we all take something away from it. It may mean something different to each individual person, but we all bond over a good song.