Chapter 17 of Rock N Roll Archaeology is bookended by a couple of Simon & Garfunkel albums: “Bookends” from the spring of 1968; and “Bridge Over Troubled Water” from January of 1970.
Our story takes place mostly in New York City: a city big enough to spawn two very different, very talented–and very influential–artists: Paul Simon and Lou Reed.
We skip work on a cold January afternoon to catch a movie: Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate.” It’s a generation milestone of a film, and Simon & Garfunkel’s music is a big part of that; what’s more, we argue, it’s a different kind of soundtrack, something new in film and popular culture.
We meet Tom Wilson, the first African-American staff producer at Columbia Records. Tom oversaw the first two Simon & Garfunkel albums. We follow him for a little while and he leads us to…Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground.
We get to know Lou and the Velvets, and the scene from which they sprang: Andy Warhol’s Factory. We meet a Factory hang-around, an angry young woman with good reasons to be angry, but she takes it way too far, with tragic consequences.
And we’ll meet the first Punk Rock band: The MC5, and the revolutionary political milieu they occupied. Wayne Kramer of the MC5 has some things to say about that, and about a fateful MC5 gig at the Fillmore East.
Finally, we’ll meet one of our favorite artists ever, who came from the same scene as the MC5: Iggy Pop. We say “Amen” to Iggy Pop.
We wrap it back around to Simon & Garfunkel, and their take on the anger and disappointment, on the turmoil of the late 1960s. An offer of comfort and healing is the first big Pop hit of the 1970s.
Listen to episodes 1-16 of Rock N Roll Archaeology and all our other podcasts at www.pantheonpodcasts.com