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Paul Simon Fast Facts

CNN Editorial Research

Here’s a look at the life of singer-songwriter Paul Simon.


Birth date: October 13, 1941

Birth place: Newark, New Jersey

Birth name: Paul Frederic Simon

Father: Louis Simon, college professor and professional musician

Mother: Belle Simon, elementary school teacher

Marriages: Edie Brickell (May 1992-present), Carrie Fisher (August 1983-July 1984, divorced), Peggy Harper (1969-1975, divorced)

Children: with Edie Brickell: Gabriel Elijah, 1998; Lulu Belle, 1995; Adrian Edward, 1992; with Peggy Harper: Harper James, 1972

Education: Queens College, B.A., 1963; briefly attended Brooklyn Law School

Other Facts

Was one half of the folk-rock duo Simon and Garfunkel.

Nominated for 35 and winner of 16 Grammy Awards, and recipient of the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award.

Nominated for and winner of one Emmy Award.

Simon and Art Garfunkel were classmates, and met at age 11.

Simon was a high school baseball star.

He wrote the song “He Was My Brother” about the death of Andrew Goodman, a college classmate and civil rights worker who was murdered in Mississippi in 1964.

Simon has fundraised for AMFAR, The Nature Conservancy, The Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa, Autism Speaks and The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation.


1957-1959 – Simon and Garfunkel perform together as Tom and Jerry. While still in high school, their single, “Hey, Schoolgirl,” sells more than 100,000 copies. The duo separates to attend college.

1964 – They reunite and perform together as Simon and Garfunkel, obtaining a recording contract with Columbia.

1965 – Simon releases his first solo studio album, “The Paul Simon Songbook.”

1967 – Simon and Garfunkel material makes up nearly the entire soundtrack for the film, “The Graduate.”

1970 – Release “Bridge over Troubled Water.” The duo break up after the album’s release.

1972 – Releases his first album post-breakup, “Paul Simon,” which includes the single “Mother and Child Reunion.”

1980 – Stars in “One-Trick Pony,” for which he also wrote the screenplay and soundtrack.

September 19, 1981 – Simon and Garfunkel reunite for a free concert in Central Park.

1985 – Simon travels to Johannesburg and records with South African musicians. This trip is controversial due to apartheid; there is a UN-instituted cultural boycott of the nation.

1986 – Releases the album “Graceland,” the culmination of his work in South Africa.

1987 – Simon co-founds Children’s Health Fund with Irwin Redlener.

January 17, 1990 – Simon and Garfunkel are inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a duo.

October 1990 – Releases the album “The Rhythm of the Saints,” which blends Brazilian drums and African guitars.

1992 – After the United Nations lifts the cultural boycott against South Africa, Simon goes back to perform despite political tensions and a grenade attack outside the tour promoter’s office. His trip has support from Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, but minority groups protest, claiming that apartheid has not been sufficiently deconstructed.

1990s – Spends seven years writing the 36-song score for the Broadway musical, “The Capeman.” He also produces the musical, which premieres in 1998.

1999 – Tours with Bob Dylan.

March 19, 2001 – Simon is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist.

2002 – Receives Kennedy Center Honors.

2003 – Simon and Garfunkel receive a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

2006 – Time Magazine lists him as one of the “100 People Who Shape our World.”

2007 – Receives the first ever Gershwin Prize for Popular Song from the Library of Congress.

2011 – Simon is elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

April 26, 2014 – Simon and wife Edie Brickell are arrested at their home in New Canaan, Connecticut, and charged with disorderly conduct after a family dispute. They are released the following morning.

June 17, 2014 – The prosecutor drops domestic violence charges against Simon and Brickell.

October 30, 2014 – An exhibit of Simon’s life and career debuts at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

November 5, 2014 – Publisher Simon & Schuster announces that Simon is collaborating with author Robert Hilburn for a planned biography about his life and musical career.

June 2016 – Simon releases his 13th solo studio album, “Stranger to Stranger.”

February 5, 2018 – Simon announces that his upcoming tour will be his last. In September, his final tour concludes in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, New York.

May 2019 – The biography “Paul Simon: The Life,” written by Hilburn, is published.

March 31, 2021 – It is announced that Simon has sold his entire catalog of songs to Sony Music Publishing.

November 16, 2021 – “Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon,” an audiobook of conversations between Simon and Malcolm Gladwell, is released.

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