Art reveals truth about "Troubled Water"

February 2003

An east Devon beauty spot can no longer claim to be the inspiration behind a famous song.

For years Bickleigh Bridge in east Devon had been claimed locally as the bridge which Simon and Garfunkel sang about in their hit, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

But speaking on BBC Radio Devon on Friday Art Garfunkel finally laid the longstanding rumor to rest. Bridge Over Troubled Water has nothing to do with Bickleigh Bridge in East Devon.

The myth has grown to giant proportions over the years, as Simon and Garfunkel - who spent quite some time in England in the 1960s - were known to have visited the area. But the real story behind the song has now been revealed by Art Garfunkel, who is in the UK to promote his new solo album and tour.

Asked by BBC Radio Devon's Judi Spiers, if Bickleigh Bridge IS the bridge in the song, Art said: "No - I'm sorry about that! Bridge Over Troubled Water is a gospel phrase which Paul took from a gospel group. It was in a Baptist church hymn. He liked the phrase and he used it."

The song, which reached Number 1 in 1970, was written by Paul Simon, but it was Art Garfunkel who sang lead vocal so brilliantly. The album of the same name was, in fact, the last one the duo recorded together before they went their separate ways.

However, Art did confirm the story about the origins of Homeward Bound, which starts with the line: "I'm sitting in a railway station..." - Paul Simon DID write the song on Widnes Station!

Art's visit to England coincides with the release of his new solo CD, "Everything Waits To Be Noticed." It's been recorded with Buddy Mondlock and Maia Sharp, and for the first time in his career, the album features songs he has written himself. Six of the tracks are co-written by the singer - but why has it taken him till now to write his own songs?

"It's a good question," said Art. "Perhaps it was a psychological block. I was intimidated by the incredible talent of Paul Simon - that held me back for some time."

Art is a keen walker, and goes off on marathon treks. He's walked around Japan, and has had treks across Europe..and says he hopes to walk around Dartmoor before too long.