Sunday 10 October 2021

Uncanny Harmony

 I enjoyed watching the American documentary The Harmony Game on BBC2 last night, even if it was ten years old. A film about Simon and Garfunkel, it was built around the making of their best and last album, the massively successful Bridge Over Troubled Water, which in the early Seventies seemed to be in absolutely everybody's record collection (12" vinyl of course). Paul and Art both contributed, separately, with Art notably more generous and affectionate in tone than Paul – no surprise there. It was very touching to see early footage of the two of them, their love for each other so evident and easy, their natural harmony extending beyond their music – what happened? This question was not explored. 
  The uncanny vocal harmony was still very much in evidence when Bridge Over Troubled Water was being made, and sound engineer Roy Halee knew how to bring out its special quality. He was the major contributor, after Art and Paul, to the documentary, and threw much light on the often unorthodox techniques used to create the album's richly textured, distinctive sound. Bridge Over Troubled Water was one of a string of great albums  (including the greatest, Pet Sounds) produced in response to The Beatles' mid-Sixties endeavours, which sparked a war of emulation – due at least as much to George Martin's innovative productions as to The Beatles' music. Also contributing – and a joy to see – were drummer Hal Blaine and bassist Joe Osborne, two of the three musicians who were the driving force of the Wrecking Crew (the third, keyboardist Larry Knechtel, was sadly already dead when the film was made).  
  The Harmony Game left a certain sadness in its wake. It was impossible to watch it without regretting that Simon and Garfunkel went their separate ways after hitting such heights with Bridge Over Troubled Water, and that the estrangement become so bitter. Nothing was said of all that in the film, but it was hovering in the air throughout. 


  1. Kathy I'm Lost I said though i knew She was sleeping... wonderful.

  2. I'm empty and aching and I don't know why.
    Counting the cars on the New Jersey turnpike...