On this day in 1981: Simon & Garfunkel reunited for a concert in New York’s Central Park. Over 500,000 fans attended the show. The performance was recorded for a record and video release.
A film of the event was shown on TV and released on video. Proceeds went toward the redevelopment and maintenance of the park, which had deteriorated due to lack of municipal funding. The concert and album marked the start of a three-year reunion of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
The concept of a benefit concert in Central Park had been proposed by Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis and promoter Ron Delsener. The cable television channel HBO agreed to carry the concert, and worked with Delsener to decide on Simon and Garfunkel as the appropriate act for this event. Besides hit songs from their years as a duo, their set-list included material from their solo careers, and covers. The show consisted of 21 songs, though two were not used in the live album. Among the songs performed were the classics “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, and “The Boxer.” The event concluded with a reprise of Simon’s song “Late In the Evening.” Ongoing personal tensions between the duo led them to decide against a permanent reunion, despite the success of the concert and a subsequent world tour.
Also on this day in 1981: The Rolling Stones album ‘Tattoo You’ started a nine-week run #1 on the U.S. albums chart, the band’s ninth U.S. #1 album.