14 Best Simon & Garfunkel Songs of All Time

simon and garfunkel songs
Simon and Garfunkel, Feijenoordstadion, Rotterdam, 1982. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Simon & Garfunkel are a folk-pop duo from the 1960s who paved their way to stardom with their influence on literary-focused college kids. In a career that spanned nearly 50 years, the pair created some real masterpieces.

Discover the top fourteen Simon & Garfunkel songs of all time below. 

The 14 Best Simon & Garfunkel Songs


14. “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her”(1966)

First on our list of top Simon & Garfunkel songs is “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” from the 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. It was written by Paul Simon and performed by the duo, the tenth song on this album.

The song “For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her” is a fictitious work about a girl named Emily. It’s easily one of their most romantic selections, depicting the longing of a man seeking to see his love again. Some people even think the song is named after the poet Emily Dickinson.

After 1970, the name Emily rose sharply in popularity. Although there’s no serious evidence to prove Simon & Garfunkel caused this phenomenon, it’s safe to say many people were influenced by the sweet tune of this 1966 melody.


13. “The Only Living Boy In New York”(1970)

Next up is “The Only Living Boy In New York”, a song from Simon & Garfunkel’s 1970 album A Bridge Over Troubled Water. This tune was written by Paul Simon and created for their fifth and last studio album. 

The meaning of this song is simple. Paul Simon wrote it about Art Garfunkel traveling to Mexico to act in a movie. It’s a song about being alone.

Some speculate that it’s also about their impending break up.

There were several periods of frustration between Simon & Garfunkel during their careers, and some produced gorgeous melodies like “The Only Living Boy in New York”.


12. “Homeward Bound”(1966)

“Homeward Bound” is next on our list of Simon & Garfunkel songs, an addition to the 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. Again, it was written by Paul Simon.

Like many Simon & Garfunkel songs, this one is classic and about an escape from isolation. It’s also a result of Simon’s homesickness after touring – the simplest form of human longing.

Paul Simon excels at taking emotions and driving them into a gorgeous song. “Homeward Bound” is one of the examples of a folk master at work.


11. “Bleecker Street”(1964)

One of the duo’s earliest songs is “Bleecker Street,” a tune from the 1964 album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. It was written by Paul Simon before the recording between the two.

There’s something fun in this song in that it can be taken literally or it can be taken poetically. Many interpret the tune as a literal song about Bleecker Street, while others consider it a commentary on human conditions.

Although “Bleecker Street” was never a top-charting success, it’s one of their underrated masterpieces and deserves more recognition than it gets.

This tune set the pace for their future careers as the duo Simon & Garfunkel.

Related: Stevie Nicks Net Worth: Her Marriage, Why She Doesn’t Have a Car, and More


10. “A Hazy Shade of Winter”(1968)

Next up is “A Hazy Shade of Winter” from the 1968 album Bookends. It was written by Paul Simon for their last classic before hitting their explosion in the 80s. 

Upon initial inspection, it might seem like this song is about bad weather.

But, like most Simon & Garfunkel songs, it’s something deeper. It’s someone equating the entirety of their life to the bleakness of winter.

Although it’s depressing, “A Hazy Shade of Winter” is a complex, beautiful metaphor. It speaks to the lost soul and holds beautiful questions and imagery.

Again, this song captures their ability to create complex, storytelling songs.


9. “Patterns”(1966)

Next on our list of Simon & Garfunkel songs is “Patterns” from the 1966 album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. It was written by Paul Simon and details the complexities of life.

“Patterns” is about a man trying to push his way through life and weave a path, but he’s trapping himself in his maze of life. It’s about being out of control and struggling to dictate your life.

This song is one of their best commentaries on the human condition and exemplifies their brand. Simon & Garfunkel are experts at discussing human beings, especially in their earliest works before the 70s. 


8. “Richard Corey”(1966)

“Richard Corey” is another of the iconic Simon & Garfunkel songs from the album Sounds of Silence, produced in 1966. It was written by Paul Simon the year before, then recorded with Garfunkel.

This song comes straight from the poem “Richard Corey” by Edwin Arlington Robertson.

It’s a tale about fame and a man with fans who looked at him like he was more than a regular person. It dives into the guy’s ultimate suicide, speaking on judging outward appearances. 

The song’s message hits deep. That’s proven by how many people have covered “Richard Corey” over the years. Artists like Van Morrison, Denny Laine, and Ken Boothe devoted their voices to bring this deep Simon & Garfunkel song to life.

Related: 10 Surprising Simon and Garfunkel Facts: How They Met, Their Fights, and More


7. “I Am A Rock”(1966)

Next up is “I Am The Rock,” written and recorded as the final track for their album, Sounds of Silence. Of course, it was written by Paul Simon and recorded with Garfunkel for the album release.

This song is about a recluse trapped in his world. He withdraws from his family and isolates himself. Supposedly, Simon created the tune to deal with his loneliness in the world.

At its peak, “I Am The Rock” ranked number three on the Billboard Hot 100. It ranked pretty high, closing in on successes like “The Sound of Silence” and “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”


6. “The Boxer”(1970)

“The Boxer” comes next on the list, made for the 1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water. Again, Paul Simon wrote the song. It was recorded for their fifth studio album.

Out of all the songs written by the duo, “The Boxer” is one of Simon’s masterpieces. It depicts the story of a young boy born into poverty and uses it to turn into a boxer.

Of course, there is some drama behind the lyrics. Some report this song is a dig at Bob Dylan, while Simon claims it was written when he felt unfairly attacked.

For his part, Dylan released a (possibly satirical?) duet version with himself on his 1970 double album Self Portrait.

Whatever the case, it was a smashing success after the release of “Mrs. Robinson.”

Related: 27 Fascinating Facts About Bob Dylan 


5. “America”(1970)

Next is “America,” written for the 1970 album Bookends. It was written by Simon and is a largely autobiographical number transformed into an incredible musical experience. 

Simon wrote this song about his and his ex-girlfriend’s trip across America, through the heartland. He was searching for the “American Dream” and struggled to find it, resulting in this gorgeous lament.

One of the most notable things about this song is that it is one of few rock songs to keep the lyrics unrhymed. It’s an existential masterpiece.


4. “Scarborough Fair/Canticle”(1966)

Before the top three comes “Scarborough Fair/Canticle,” written in 1966 for the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. Though it hardly needs to be said, the song was created by Paul Simon.

This ballad stands out as a ballad, a lament about unrequited love. It’s based on a typical folk song from England, typically sung as a duet. However, it wasn’t released until 1968 when it was used in The Graduate.

As with all good songs, there was plenty of drama behind this one. Folk singer Martin Cathy accused the duo of singing his arrangement, but they eventually put aside their differences.


3. “Mrs. Robinson”(1960)

Our third choice is “Mrs. Robinson”, a selection from the 1960 album The Graduate. This folk song was written by Paul Simon and was eventually adapted for the movie of the same name.

“Mrs. Robinson is one of the more infamous songs from Simon & Garfunkel. It’s an anthem about an extramarital affair, detailing a suburban wife’s struggles with herself. 

Although the song wasn’t written for the movie The Graduate, Simon adapted it to make it work. The movie helped shoot their careers forward.


2. “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (1969)

Our next selection, and runner-up, is “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, a song from the 1970 album of the same name. This tune was written in 1969 by Paul Simon and recorded the next year.

Simon & Garfunkel’s tune has been covered by dozens of people over the years, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley.

It’s a song of solace and persistence in a time of turmoil, written around the time Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. were assassinated.

The melody “Bridge Over Troubled Water” was their most successful song, sitting at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for six weeks.

It also earned them the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and several additional awards for that album.

Related: 32 Interesting Facts About Elvis Presley 


1. “The Sound of Silence” (1964)

Last up on our list of Simon & Garfunkel songs is the iconic “The Sound of Silence” from their 1966 album Sounds of Silence. This song was written by Paul Simon over several months between 1963 and 1964.

This melancholy tune is a hymn to resistance, a call to the dangers of being silent.

It seems simple on its surface but holds tight to a deeper meaning that audiences love and still enjoy today, even after their retirement. It sat at #1 for two weeks on the Billboard Hot 100.

The song “The Sound of Silence” is unlike many of their other songs, but that was a good thing for Simon & Garfunkel.

It transcends the basic ideas of music and becomes an auditory experience for the listener. It’s easily their most unique song among so many great tunes, standing the test of time even above the powerhouse “Bridge Over Troubled Water.”

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Written by Hope Davis

Long-time music lover Hope became a full-time writer in 2020 after being laid off from her regular job due to COVID-19. She now spends her time traveling the world to see her favorite bands while writing about them!


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