Hear Simon & Garfunkel Perform in Central Park on This Day in 1981

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Hear Simon & Garfunkel Perform in Central Park on This Day in 1981

On Sept. 18, 1981, Simon & Garfunkel performed a now-legendary show in Central Park, the same one that, in February of the next year, became the duo’s first live album: The Concert in Central Park. More than 500,000 people showed up for the free concert on New York City’s finest grounds, where Paul and Art played hits like “Mrs. Robinson,” “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” with a full band and horn section. The live performance reached more than just those legions of concert-goers, though: The Concert in Central Park was actually broadcasted on HBO, paving the way for many similar TV concert specials to come. And the ripples didn’t stop there—proceeds from the merchandise, television and video rights were donated to the New York City parks commission, a nod to both musicians’ hometown. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel both hail from Forest Hills, Queens.

Three weeks of rehearsals culminated in the Central Park performance, which was also the duo’s first live show of their brief 1980s reunion. And reunite they did, cranking out more than 20 songs for the crowd, choosing tracks from their golden era as well as each other’s solo careers. They played other classics like “The Sound of Silence” and “The Boxer” as well as renditions of Simon’s “Late in the Evening” and Garfunkel’s “A Heart in New York.” You can listen to the entire concert via the Paste vault below.

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