808s / The UK's Greatest Hits

The UK’s Greatest Hits: 21. Bridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel

220px-Bridge_Over_Troubled_WaterBridge Over Troubled Water – Simon & Garfunkel – 1970

First listen?: Yes

Someone I thought we would see by himself on this list, I was certain that Paul Simon’s Graceland would make the top 40. Instead we have the final album from him and Art Garfunkel, Bridge Over Troubled Water. This album spent a total of 33 weeks at number 1 in the UK, remaining in the top 10 for over a year and a half. It’s when I read up on facts like that I really start to put our current charts in perspective. Sitting down to listen to albums as huge as this one is why I started to series in the first place and I must say I enjoyed Bridge Over Troubled Water. It’s a real shame that the title track has been sung to death by so many unworthy artists over the last 45 years (I’m looking at you Hear’Say) as the version here is glorious. Each singer introduces themselves softly and effortlessly over simple piano, before everything explodes into that massive expansive chorus 3 minutes in. It’s 5 minutes of music that just makes sense. It brilliantly captures the sound of the decade that came before it while pushing things forward into what would soon dominate radio. The rest of the album is surprisingly diverse and most notably uptempo throughout. There’s a running theme of small opening moments emerging into epic hooks, I guess some tricks in pop don’t change do they? The Boxer and Cecilia showcase the pair’s magical dynamic together, it doesn’t take long to understand why Simon & Garfunkel were a perfect match for the British public. Keep The Customer Satisfied and The Only Living Boy In New York are other highlights, even if nothing quite matches that opening classic single. I went in with some preconceptions of what I’d think of Bridge Over Troubled Water and I’m very pleased that they were wrong. It’s easy to understand why this album resonated so well with the British public, it certainly did with me on first listen.

Rating: 7/10

Will I listen again?: Hopefully yes.

Best Track: Bridge Over Troubled Water

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