A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
The Harmony Game: The Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water
Forty years ago, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel were on top of the musical world, touring the country after four of their five albums had topped the charts. They were about to collaborate on a record to top them all, one that would surpass all their previous albums and which would lead to speculation over song meanings, methods, and reasons for the duos separations following this album. In this retrospective, Simon and Garfunkel guide us through what led to the making of this album, and how tracks on the record came about all of which is played over footage of the duo from the time. We also learn little tidbits which are of extreme interests. How the chorus of Li-li-li for "The Boxer" was recorded in a cathedral. How "The Only Living Boy in New York" was about Art travelling to Mexico to film Catch-22. How "El Condor Pasa" was sang over a musician playing an armadillo with strings on it. How "Cecilia" was created during a jam session with the duo's friends banging on the table top. I also loved how one of the song assemblers payed so little attention to his work that he returned the music with the label "Like a Pitcher of Water." There are other things of interest as well, such as how Charles Grodin produced a Simon and Garfunkel Television special that lost advertising and flopped due to the political nature of the footage they included. Fellow collaborating musicians, especially producer Roy Hallee, provide insight into how the album got made. And finally we have Paul and Art, intelligently and gracefully speaking of their craft, the times, the album, and their friendship which is a delight to anyone who has ever enjoyed their music. Yes The Harmony Game is a treat for Simon and Garfunkel fans but it is also a documentary for anyone who is interested in the musical process as well.