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The Concert In Central Park- Simon And Garfunkel 31 Years Ago Live At Central Park

Central Press/Getty Images

The year was 1981. You may remember listening to me back then on Rock 107 (oh how the times have changed). I remember watching on TV that night catching news clips from New York City. Simon and Garfunkel were performing their historic “The Concert In Central Park” show. I remember seeing a massive crowd of people, and I remember the good tunes.

At this time, Central Park was already considered a National Historic Landmark but at the start of the 1980s, the city lacked the financial resources maintain the park. The nonprofit Central Park Conservancy was founded in 1980, and began a successful campaign to raise renovation funds. This is how the concert idea was born.

They decided on Simon & Garfunkel, a group that had formed in New York City in the 1950s, and had been one of the most successful folk rock groups in the 1960s. Simon & Garfunkel had broken up at the height of their popularity and shortly after the release of their fifth studio album, Bridge Over Troubled Water, which is deemed to be their artistic peak and which topped the 1970 Billboard charts for two weeks. They had grown apart artistically and did not get along well with each other. In the following eleven years, both continued musical careers as solo artists, and worked together only sporadically on single projects. Garfunkel made brief guest appearances at Simon’s concerts, which were always successful.”

The concert took place on Saturday, September 19, 1981, on the Great Lawn, inside Central Park. The Parks Department originally expected about 300,000 attendees, however that was far to low. An estimated 500,000 audience members attended this show making it the seventh-largest concert attendance on record.


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