In May, Art Garfunkel attended the Cannes International Film Festival in Cannes, France. Art was also featured on "Inside Edition," an entertainment television program. Art was promoting the upcoming Disney broadcast as well as the live CD (see below).
In October, the Disney Channel aired a one-hour special entitled ART GARFUNKEL: ACROSS AMERICA. This show was a well produced recording of Art's April concerts from the Registry Hall at Ellis Island. The show included 13 live songs and one studio version of "Goodnight, My Love" (during the closing credits). The video included some beautiful shots of America as well as Art conversing with an off-camera interviewer interspersed between songs.
In December, Art Garfunkel released his ninth album ACROSS AMERICA (acheiving "Gold" record sales in Germany as well as the UK #35). This is a live album from his two night concert at the Registry Hall on Ellis Island (New York Harbor), recorded April 12th and 13th. The CD was released in the U.K. by Hybrid Records (joint partnership with Sire Records Group). The album was produced by Art and Stuart Breed and features 17 tracks including many Simon & Garfunkel classics, as well as some of Art's hits, including, "I Only Have Eyes for You," "All I Know," "A Heart in New York," "Bright Eyes," "I Will," "Grateful," and a studio version of "Goodnight, My Love." Although James Taylor did not appear in concert, he performed a live duet with Art on Ellis Island during the afternoon of April 12th (this recording of "Crying in the Rain" appears on both the Disney special as well as the CD).
Art did an interview in the Fall of 1996 in which he talks about the history of many of the Across America songs. It contains some very insightful material for both the Art Garfunkel as well as S&G fan.
Art completed his walk across America in August, having covered more than 4,000 miles over a 12-year period.
In January, Art Garfunkel performed at one of the Grammy concerts in New York. Son James joined dad on "Feelin' Groovy."
In June, Art Garfunkel released his second album within six months entitled SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD (Billboard #17 - Top Children's CD). The CD was released through Sony Wonder/Columbia as part of their Family Artist Series. The song selections form a thematic cycle. According to Art Garfunkel, "we wanted to begin with the sense of the morning and then let the different songs take you through the course of the day." It is a wonderful compilation of songs from the likes of James Taylor ("Secret O'Life"), Lennon & McCartney ("I Will"), Cat Stevens ("Morning Has Broken"), Mary Chapin Carpenter ("Dreamland"), and John Sebastian (What a Day for a "Daydream"). Parents will love the Marc Cohn song "The Things We've Handed Down." "You're a Wonderful One" rocks along with a nice upbeat tempo. Art does a cute duet with son James on the Elvis Presley hit "Good Luck Charm."
On June 11th, a party to celebrate Art Garfunkel's release of both CDs was held at The Village Gate in New York City.
The June 12th issue of ROLLING STONE Magazine had a review of ACROSS AMERICA (which was released in the U.S. in May, the European version was initially released in December 1996) wherein the album was given 3 stars. The reviewer, Anthony DeCurtis, presents a positive criticism of the album. DeCurtis believes that as far as the S&G tunes are concerned, Art "renders them with grace and characteristically sublimated passion". He continues to say, "the high point, of course is "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a song that Garfunkel has, uniquely in the Simon and Garfunkel canon, fully defined as his own. It's not just the high note at the end, which Garfunkel handles easefully. The song's themes of reconciliation and transcendence suit Garfunkel's soul..."
Also on June 12th, Art was a guest for an entire hour on the "Pamela Wallin Live" show (Canada). He performed "The Sound of Silence."
On June 16th, Art Garfunkel performed at a benefit concert in New York's Central Park. His songs included "Daydream," from his recent CD, "A Heart in New York," "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as well as "Mrs. Robinson."
Art Garfunkel's European tour, which began in the Spring of 1997, included shows in the U.K., France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, Austria, Italy, Croatia, Spain, the Czech Republic and continued into the Summer with fourteen shows in Germany during the month of July.
On August 8th, Art Garfunkel was the musical guest on ABC's "Good Morning America" program. During the summer months, GMA broadcasts their Friday shows from Central Park (Tavern on the Green). Art performed two abbreviated versions of "Mrs. Robinson" (with Kim Cermak on backup vocals) and "Daydream." Art and Kim were interviewed briefly discussing son James (who declined to be interviewed) and the importance of music in the Garfunkel household. Art discussed both SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD and ACROSS AMERICA. After the interview, Art performed a full version of "A Heart In New York." The show concluded with the Garfunkel family singing "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)."
Art Garfunkel continued to promote both of his recent CD's throughout the Summer into the Fall. He was the subject of a short interview in the July 28th issue of PEOPLE MAGAZINE, wherein Art discusses his "Walk" across America, his son James as well as the Ellis Island concerts. PARADE MAGAZINE (July 27th) featured a review by Herbert Kupferberg of SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD. Kupferberg wrote that the CD "makes for very comfortable listening especially its opening 'Who's Gonna Shoe Your Pretty Little Feet?'." He notes that Eric Weissberg "provides smooth guitar accompaniments." Kupferberg concludes that the album is "all very low-key and very nice." On August 12th, The BBC broadcasted one hour of highlights from Art's London Palladium concert recorded back in April 1997. There was a short biography of Art's career with Paul Simon as well as his solo work. On August 20th, the ART GARFUNKEL: ACROSS AMERICA video was broadcast in New York on PBS. The video was used as part of PBS's week-long pledge drive. Although Art did not make an in-studio appearance, he was interviewed via telephone discussing his "Walk" and the subsequent Ellis Island concerts. The show aired again on August 22nd and was responsible for a significant increase in viewer pledges.
On October 28th, Art Garfunkel performed at the 13th Annual Rita Hayworth Gala at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York. Art sang several songs including "Feelin' Groovy" with son James. This event was a benefit to raise funds for Alzheimer's Disease. Hosted by Willard Scott, the honoree for the evening was Deborah Norville.
Also on October 28th, Art appeared on "The Late Late Show with Tom Snyder." After the interview, Art sang "Dreamland," a Mary Chapin Carpenter tune from SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD. Eric Weissberg accompanied on guitar. Tom Snyder promoted both SONGS... and OLD FRIENDS several times, although neither CD was discussed in any detail. Tom and Art discussed how baseball has changed since the '60's, no longer does each league have just 8 teams. Art reminisced about the days when his dad took him to see the Brooklyn Dodgers play at Ebbets Field. Tom added that many of the great groups of the '60's broke up in the early '70's, including The Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. Art responded, "Don't look at me, I was happy to carry on."
On November 1st, Art Garfunkel sung with his wife and son James for the President of the United States, Bill Clinton at the Democratic National Committee weekend fund-raiser on Amelia Island, Florida. An article appeared in the November 24th issue of PEOPLE WEEKLY where Chuck Arnold wrote, "Art Garfunkel couldn't help but be impressed by the price of admission: $50,000 per couple." Art told PEOPLE, "I had to make sure my nails were clean and stand up extra-straight." Arnold continued, "The singer, once teamed with Paul Simon, has learned to sympathize with Al Gore, who was also there." Art added, "The Vice President really has a tough job being Mr. Second. It's tough on the ego. You have to be very secure... James singing 'Feelin' Groovy' was a killer, I was upstaged by my own son." Referring to his son James who joined his dad for one song on his four-song set. Accompanying the article is a picture of Art wearing a dark suit with a striped tie and white shirt sitting on a leather chair (very Vice Presidential looking).
On November 4th, SONY/Legacy released a Simon and Garfunkel three CD boxed set entitled OLD FRIENDS. This anthology features 59 tracks, including many remastered versions of their hit songs. It also includes 15 previously-unreleased tracks, consisting of 3 newly-found studio recordings, 10 live performances and 2 early demos. The collection was painstakingly assembled from first generation masters, resulting in stunningly pristine sound. Of course, the real treasures in this box set are the live and previously-unreleased tracks. The listener has the opportunity to hear Art Garfunkel introduce and speak at length about several songs during their Lincoln Center and Burlington, Vermont concerts. Art's description (intro to "A Poem on the Underground Wall") of a photo shoot in a New York City Subway Station is hilarious. Other live versions include "Red Rubber Ball," "Blessed," "Anji," "A Church is Burning," "A Most Peculiar Man," "Bye, Bye Love," "Hey Schoolgirl/Black Slacks" (medley), and "That Silver-Haired Daddy of Mine." Several of the previously unreleased tracks are definitely worth a listen, including; "Blues Run the Game" written by Jackson C. Frank who Paul and Art met while in London in the early 60's. An Art Garfunkel favorite, "Feuilles-O" which was originally planned for the BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER album, but eventually used on Art's ANGEL CLARE, although re-recorded, is also represented. There are also two Christmas songs that were recorded in 1967 and never released, "Comfort and Joy," and "Star Carol." It's a shame the producers were unable to include the song track to "Silent Night", preferably without the news headlines (this is the only song on the S&G track list where Art Garfunkel plays an instrument - piano).
Also on November 4th, Art was interviewed by Walter Ocner from Medialink Radio. The interview lasted approximately 40 minutes and covered numerous topics from Art's days with Paul Simon (OLD FRIENDS), ACROSS AMERICA (as well as the Walk), SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD, and Art's plans for the future.
In the November 16, 1997 edition of THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Art Garfunkel was interviewed by David Hinckley, a long time and highly-respected music critic. Hinckley writes,
"He's got one of the most memorable voices in rock'n' roll history;... and he's [Art] come to accept the fact that for millions of fans, the mention of either his name or Paul Simon's will forever conjure the other." Hinckley discussed Art and his relationship with his former partner as well as the recently released 3 CD box set OLD FRIENDS. "I don't normally listen to a lot of old Simon & Garfunkel records," says Garfunkel. "But listening this time, I became a Simon & Garfunkel fan right there in my bedroom." The interview goes on to discuss the rare versions of "Red Rubber Ball," "That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine," and "Blues Run the Game," plus two unissued Christmas recordings "Comfort and Joy" and "Star Carol" from 1967. "We didn't do things like that very often," says Garfunkel. "They were thinking about a compilation Christmas record and they asked us to do a couple of songs." Art doesn't rule out future S&G vintage releases. "I didn't know some of this material existed," he says. "But I know there are other concerts. I also know Paul and I had a lot of fun in the studio. We were always cracking each other up, and some of it was recorded. That might be interesting to listen to." Hinckley continues, "Among other things, it might soften the image of both Simon & Garfunkel as almost painfully serious. But then, Garfunkel says there are several sides of him the public has not seen much of." According to Art, "Most people think of me just for the ballads - 'Sing sweetly, Artie' - but that's not all I do. I don't mean I become Little Richard, but there are other areas."
In November, Art Garfunkel filmed a tiny cameo appearance (no lines) for the film 54 (about the famous Manhattan club from the 70's. The part was filmed in "Elaines, " the original Studio 54 is no longer in existence.
In late November, James Brooks asked Art Garfunkel to perform an Eric Idle song entitled "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" (you may recall the tune from Monty Python) for his new TriStar movie AS GOOD AS IT GETS, starring Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt. According to Art, he was asked to give the song which is sung over the final credits, "musical value and sing it with earnest. It is lush with orchestration." Art thought the final product came out quite good. Hans Zimmer, who composed the original score for the movie, also produced Art's number. Backed by a men's choir, the song is both sophisticated and humorous - all at the same time. It is a terrific tune, something you don't ordinarily hear Art sing. The movie opened Christmas day and turned out to be a major hit. The CD, released by Columbia on January 13, 1998 also includes performances by Nat King Cole, Judith Owen and Shawn Colvin.
On December 7th, Art Garfunkel was a guest of long time New York rock and roll DJ Vin Scelsa on WNEW-FM. Art was interviewed and performed several songs with guitarist Eric Weissberg.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY (January 16, 1998) featured an interview with Art Garfunkel where he discusses his Walk, ACROSS AMERICA, SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD as well as the Simon & Garfunkel boxed set OLD FRIENDS.
Art Garfunkel was nominated for a Grammy (Best Musical Album for Children for SONGS FROM A PARENT TO A CHILD). John Denver won - his sons were on hand at the February 25th ceremonies at Radio City Music Hall in New York to accept the award in his name.
In the April 27th issue of PEOPLE WEEKLY magazine, there is a full page (pg.18) picture of Art Garfunkel singing with his son James taken while they performed at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll. 30,000 people gathered on the South Lawn to watch Art and others perform. The event occurred on April 13th and live shots of the performance were available via the Internet.
In May Art Garfunkel and the Hebrew folk/cabaret of Chava Albertstein were the start of a celebration in Boston for "Boston Celebrates Israel at 50." Garfunkel sang six songs during the concert. In a generous move, Art sang a song he said he "hadn't sung since I was 8 and I was the rabbi's pet."
Art Garfunkel began his Walk across Europe. Beginning at Shannon Airport, Art completed his trek across Ireland in late May. In the Spring of 1999 he plans to continue his walk across Great Britain and then off to the Continent and will eventually reach Istanbul. Art estimates it will take approximately 6 years. Art says he is "not a treadmill guy... this is my way of getting exercise."
On June 1st, Art Garfunkel appeared on the "Late Show with David Letterman." Art was seen shooting foul shots (basketball) outside the studio - he sunk 130 in 40 minutes. Also on June 1st, Art presented an award to poet Maya Angelou at a charity for "City Arts," a benefit which brings professional artists together with children and neighborhood groups to create public art.
Art Garfunkel's 1998 U.S. Tour entitled "The Daydream Tour" began with a concert at Coney Island (Brooklyn) on July 16th. Several of the songs had new arrangements and reflect the addition of Ted Baker on synthesizer. Mr. Baker joins the tour fresh from the Broadway show "The Lion King." The U.S. tour follows Mr. Garfunkel's highly successful tour of Europe - selling out almost every show!
On September 12th, Art Garfunkel appeared on a German TV show, Only One Will Win and sang "Daydream."
On September 26th, Art Garfunkel was interviewed on CNN's World Beat.
On October 29th, Art Garfunkel was interviewed by NBC TV. He spoke about his new song and narrating role on the PBS children series "Arthur." He also discussed the song "Good Luck Charm" in which his son James performs; a video was shown of James singing the song while viewing cards describing the words. This interview was part of a multi-media broadcast of interviews done by Art Garfunkel this week across the USA.
Sony Music (Germany) released a new greatest hits CD entitled SIMPLY THE BEST-ART GARFUNKEL. It includes 20 tracks with a number of surprises, including, "Miss You Nights," "She Moved Through the Fair," "Another Lullaby," "Saturday Suit," "Why Worry" and "Crying In My Sleep."
On November 16th, Art Garfunkel was the voice of a singing/narrator moose for the highly-successful and well-regarded PBS "Arthur" children's television series. A CD entitled ARTHUR AND FRIENDS (Web Editor Note: Arthur in CD title refers to the cartoon character Arthur, not AG) was released in conjunction with the season premiere. Art Garfunkel sings "The Ballad of Buster Baxter" on the CD. Details on how Art Garfunkel became involved with this project were highlighted in a BILLBOARD Magazine article published on January 24th:
"It all started when Garfunkel bought a giant stuffed Arthur for his 6-year old son, who happens to be a fan of the show (as is his dad), in Fligor's Department Store in Martha's Vineyard, Mass. They took the toy with them to the airport, where the Garfunkel's and the aardvark were photographed for THE MARTHA'S VINEYARD GAZETTE, which was seen by "Arthur" author/illustrator Marc Brown. 'I was fascinated that he liked Arthur,' says Brown, 'and I mentioned this to (show producer) Carol Greenwald. I thought, 'If he's a fan of the show, maybe there's something we could do together.' '
In fact, "Arthur" head writer Joe Fallon had already conceived a story in which a narrator/balladeer character played a major part, and all involved felt Garfunkel would be perfect for the role. They contacted him, he liked the idea, and they provided a tape of the songs. 'Then came the fun part,' says Brown. 'Carol and I got to meet Art for lunch in New York. I'd never been in a situation where you're at the table everyone's trying not to look at. It just gave me goosebumps after enjoying the music of Simon & Garfunkel for so many years; it was truly amazing to work with Art Garfunkel, and he couldn't have been more pleasant. It was fun turning him into a cartoon character, too. I did sketches of him during lunch.'
'What I like about "Arthur," ' says Arthur the human, 'is that it touches real emotional situations kids encounter in their daily lives. And I love the way it's drawn - it's very happy-looking. It's really a winner.'
In the Garfunkel episode, the setup is that Arthur's best pal, Buster Bunny, has missed school for a week and feels awkward when he returns because it seems like everyone has gone light-years beyond him. His moose narrator sings 'one main song,' Garfunkel recounts, along with snippets of others 'threaded through the episode. I sing a variety of styles - country, rock, jazz, bluegrass. It was fun.'
Art Garfunkel appeared at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, Florida on December 28, 29, and 30. Art narrated the Christmas Story in a Candlelight Processional. He was accompanied by a choir and a 50 piece orchestra.
Having begun his Walk across Europe in 1998 (in Ireland), Art continued in March of 1999 walking half-way across Wales.
"Art Garfunkel has made a surprise international comeback," so says BILLBOARD magazine. ACROSS AMERICA has reached "Gold" status in the U.K., and Germany and has charted in The Netherlands, France, Spain, Denmark, and others. "My central creative activity these days is live concerts," Garfunkel told BILLBOARD. "I love refining my show, getting the band to groove as much as possible. So being the leader of a band doing shows all around Europe is a dream." As for Garfunkel's expectations, he says, "I've been around long enough to know that success is very arbitrary: It just happens to land on you or not. The fame thing taps you on the shoulder only when you least expect it, so I never think about that. What's important for me now is delivering the best live show that I can and continuing to build my audience."
On May 1st, Art Garfunkel sung "Bridge Over Troubled Water" at the bar mitzvah of Leon Hess's grandson. Mr. Hess was the owner of Hess Oil Corporation and The New York Jets. The event took place at Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room in New York City. Sadly, Mr. Hess died six days later.
On May 3rd, Art Garfunkel attended the Film Society of Lincoln Center's tribute for Mike Nichols. Mr. Nichols directed Art in Carnal Knowledge and Catch-22. Attendees included; Harrison Ford, Candice Bergen, Steve Martin, Meryl Streep, Carly Simon, Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Harvey Weinstein, Paul Simon, Carry Fisher, Henry Kissenger, Diane Sawyer (Mike's wife), and Elaine May. A photo of Art Garfunkel with Mike Nichols and others appeared in the May 5th edition of The New York Daily News.
65,000 fans showed up for Art Garfunkel's Visby, Sweden performance on July 10th! "We seem to have filled the place."
On September 4th, Art Garfunkel attended a party given by producer Marty Richards in Southampton (on Long Island). Michael Bolton, Barry Diller, Ahmet Ertegun, Seymour Stein and Twisted Sister's Dee Snyder, and others also attended this end of the season Hamptons bash.
On October 1st, Art Garfunkel performed with his band at a gala benefit show at his alma mater, Columbia University, in New York. The show was held to celebrate the opening of the Alfred Lerner Student Hall, a beautiful new brick, limestone and granite building with a six-story glass atrium. (Art not only received his Master's Degree in Mathematics from Columbia College, but also completed post-graduate studies as well).
The November 11th issue of ROLLING STONE magazine had a special feature entitled, "Fathers & Sons - Twenty-Four Stories Tracing the Bloodlines of Rock & Roll, Jazz and Reggae." Art, along with his son James were photographed by Kurt Markus and interviewed by Fred Schruers.
Art Garfunkel celebrated his birthday with family and friends at "Two Two Two," a restaurant on West 79th Street on Manhattan's upper West Side. (Source: New York Daily News)
On November 16th, Sony released a new CD entitled the Best of Simon & Garfunkel (replacing the original 1972 Greatest Hits album) with a new cover, liner notes by David Halberstam, new photos and a 20-track song list (the European release contains 2 CD's). All songs are reproduced from the original analog master tapes. Be sure to listen to Art Garfunkel's vocals on the live track of For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her.
On December 17th, Art Garfunkel appeared on l'ultimo valzer (The Last Waltz), a nationally televised live program on Italian "RAI DUE." Art sung "The Sound of Silence" with Claudio Baglioni (an Italian singer/songwriter). Baglioni sung the second verse in Italian. Art then performed "Bridge Over Troubled Water." Warren Bernhardt and Eric Weissberg accompanied on piano and guitar, respectively. Separately, Sting also performed.
On Christmas Eve, Art Garfunkel sung "Bridge Over Troubled Water" on "The American Red Cross Holiday Music Spectacular." While he performed, a large screen behind Art showed a very moving video of the Red Cross at work. The song perfectly captured the essence of what this wonderful organization does for Americans during times of crisis. The program was broadcast on the Fox Television Network and was seen by approximately 4.5 million viewers. Other performers included Patti LaBelle, 98 Degrees and 'N Sync, with hosts Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.
On December 26th, Art Garfunkel, Warren Bernhardt, Eric Weissberg, Stuart Breed and their families flew to Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America to board the Ocean Explorer I for a one week cruise to Antarctica. Sponsored by the Young Presidents' Organization, other notable guests included Robert Kennedy Jr., F.W. DeKlerk, Simon Winchester, Joseph Shackleton, Diane Krall, Dan Ackroyd and The Chieftains (who joined with Art on a special performance of "She Moved Through The Fair").