Over Troubled Waters ##HOT##
"Bridge over Troubled Water" is a song by the American folk duo Simon & Garfunkel, released in January 1970 as the second single from their fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). It was composed by Paul Simon and produced by Simon & Garfunkel and Roy Halee.
Over Troubled Waters
"Bridge over Troubled Water" features lead vocals by Art Garfunkel and a piano accompaniment influenced by gospel music, with a "Wall of Sound"-style production. It was the last song recorded for the album, but the first completed. The instrumentation, provided by the Wrecking Crew, was recorded in California, while Simon and Garfunkel's vocals were recorded in New York. Simon felt Garfunkel should sing solo, an invitation Garfunkel initially declined. Session musician Larry Knechtel performs piano, with Joe Osborn playing bass guitar and Hal Blaine on drums.
The song won five awards at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards in 1971, including Grammy Award for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. It is Simon & Garfunkel's most successful single, and it is often considered their signature song; it topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for six weeks, and also reached number one in the United Kingdom, Canada, France and New Zealand. It reached the top five in eight other countries, eventually selling over six million copies worldwide. It became one of the most performed songs of the 20th century, covered by over 50 artists, including Elvis Presley, Aretha Franklin and Johnny Cash. It is ranked number 66 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
"Bridge over Troubled Water" was composed by Paul Simon in early 1969; the song came to him very quickly, so much so that he asked himself: "Where did that come from? It doesn't seem like me." The title concept was inspired by Claude Jeter's line "I'll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in my name," which Jeter sang with his group, the Swan Silvertones, in the 1959 song "Mary Don't You Weep." According to gospel producer and historian Anthony Heilbut, Simon acknowledged his debt to Jeter in person, and handed Jeter a check. Simon named Johann Sebastian Bach's "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded" as inspiration for parts of the melody. Simon wrote the song initially on guitar but transposed it to the piano to reflect the gospel influence and suit Garfunkel's voice.
"Bridge over Troubled Water" was the final track recorded for the album but the first completed, with an additional two weeks of post-production. Simon initially composed the song in G major, but arranger and composer Jimmie Haskell transposed the song to E-flat major to suit Garfunkel's voice. The song's instrumental parts were recorded in August 1969 in California, to make it easier for Garfunkel to go to Mexico to film Catch-22. Simon wanted a gospel piano sound, and hired session musician Larry Knechtel. Joe Osborn played two separate bass tracks, one high and the other low. A string section entering in the third verse completed the arrangement. The drums were played by Hal Blaine in an echo chamber to achieve a hall effect and Los Angeles session percussionist Gary Coleman played the Vibraphone. The arranger Ernie Freeman labelled his string arrangement as "Like a Pitcher of Water".
Simon and Garfunkel returned to New York in November 1969 to record the vocals. The vocal style in "Bridge over Troubled Water" was inspired by Phil Spector's technique in "Old Man River" by The Righteous Brothers. Simon said it sounded like the Beatles' "Let It Be", stating in a Rolling Stone interview: "They are very similar songs, certainly in instrumentation."
He felt I should have done it, and many times on a stage, though, when I'd be sitting off to the side and Larry Knechtel would be playing the piano and Artie would be singing "Bridge", people would stomp and cheer when it was over, and I would think, "That's my song, man..."
Despite the song's five-minute length, Columbia decided to release "Bridge over Troubled Water" for play on pop radio. AM radio had previously played Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" in 1965, despite its running over the conventional three-minute playtime limit. This figured in Columbia's decision to release the five minute version of "Bridge over Troubled Water" as a single. It reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 28, 1970, and stayed at the top of the chart for six weeks. "Bridge over Troubled Water" also topped the adult contemporary chart in the US for six weeks. Billboard ranked it as the No. 1 song for 1970.
"Bridge over Troubled Water" has been covered by over 50 artists, including Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson. Merry Clayton recorded a version in gospel style on her 1970 album Gimme Shelter. A cover recorded by Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple for Cash's American IV: The Man Comes Around album was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 2003.
Aretha Franklin's gospel-infused cover version was recorded in the summer of 1970, during the sessions for what would become her 1972 album Young, Gifted and Black. Franklin debuted her version on March 5, 1971, during her landmark three-night stint at San Francisco's Fillmore West, which was later released as Aretha Live at Fillmore West. Eleven days later, she performed the song on television for the first time at the 13th Annual Grammy Awards, at which an already-disbanded Simon & Garfunkel picked up five Grammy Awards for the song. Franklin's Grammy performance was released decades later on the 1994 compilation Grammy's Greatest Moments Volume III.
Linda Clifford, Curtis Mayfield's protegée signed on his Curtom label, released an up-tempo disco version of "Bridge over Troubled Water" on her album Let Me Be Your Woman in March 1979. This epic version (10:20 in length) was produced by Gil Askey (jazz trumpet player and musical director for many Motown acts) and mixed by Jimmy Simpson, brother of Valerie Simpson from Ashford and Simpson. The song has two originalities, the first one being a 132 bpm tempo (considered the ideal tempo for disco dancing) when the Simon and Garfunkel original is 82 bpm and Aretha Franklin's cover is 76 bpm. It was the first time that this song was covered with a fast tempo. It also has a highly original "Brazilian cuica on a disco beat" break. It became a US disco number 11, pop number 41, R&B number 49 and UK number 28.
In 1991, P.J.B. featuring Hannah and Her Sisters, a UK group assembled by British songwriter, record producer and author Pete Bellotte and fronted by British singer Hannah Jones, released a dance cover of "Bridge over Troubled Water" which reached number 21 on the UK Singles Chart. The group appeared on Top of the Pops as the opening act on the 26 September 1991 episode.
In 2003, American Idol season two runner-up Clay Aiken performed "Bridge over Troubled Water" during the competition. After the final results were announced, RCA Records released the song as a double A-side single with "This Is the Night" in Canada in New Zealand; in the US, "This Is the Night" was credited as a solo release since it received a higher cumulative airplay audience. The double A-side charted at number one in both Canada and New Zealand, earning a sextuple-platinum sales certification in the former country and a platinum disc in the latter. On New Zealand's year-end chart for 2003, the single was ranked at number 38.
Dami Im covered this song during the Family Heroes-themed sixth live show of the fifth season of Australian X Factor on September 29, 2013. Im's performance of the song debuted at number 15 on the Australian Singles Chart. Im later released a version of the song on her self-titled album, which debuted at number 1 in Australia, and was certified Platinum.
Bridge Over Troubled Water was released on January 26, 1970, and several re-releases followed. The album was mixed and released in both stereo and quadraphonic. Columbia Records released a 40th Anniversary Edition on March 8, 2011, which includes two DVDs, including the politically themed TV special Songs of America (1969), the documentary The Harmony Game, additional liner notes and a booklet. Other reissues contain bonus tracks, such as the 2001 version, which covers the demo tapes of "Feuilles-O" and "Bridge over Troubled Water". Contemporary critical reception to Bridge was initially mixed, but retrospective reviews of the album have been laudatory, and it is considered by many to be the duo's best album.
Despite numerous accolades, the duo decided to split up, and parted company later in 1970; Garfunkel continued his film career, while Simon worked intensely with music. Both artists released solo albums in the following years. Bridge includes two of the duo's most critically acclaimed and commercially successful songs, "Bridge over Troubled Water" and "The Boxer", which were listed on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Critically and commercially successful, the album topped the charts in over ten countries and received two Grammy Awards, plus four more for the title song. The album sold around 25 million records; making it at the time of release the best-selling album of all time. It has been ranked on several lists, including at number 172 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Bridge over Troubled Water was also the duo's first album to credit the backing musicians in the liner notes. The credited musicians were Simon and Fred Carter, Jr. on guitars, and Hal Blaine on drums, Joe Osborn on bass and Larry Knechtel on keyboards, all of whom were studio session musicians and became famous as Wrecking Crew members.
As Simon and Garfunkel were working busily on recording, they had to decline invitations to perform, including at the Woodstock Festival. Simon wrote "Bridge over Troubled Water". He wanted a gospel piano sound, so he hired session musician Larry Knechtel. The song was initially two verses long, but Garfunkel felt the song was too short and asked Knechtel to play a third verse, to which Simon would write more lyrics. Osborn played two bass guitar parts, one high and the other low. Blaine recorded the drums in an echo chamber, to achieve a hall effect. A horn section rounded off the track. Due to a series of factors, the duo had to work on a new tape; an arranger falsely labeled the song as "Like a Pitcher of Water" and wrote Garfunkel's name incorrectly (GarFunkel), and the string part was unsatisfactory. 041b061a72