“So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright”

From artGarfunkel.com:

“Art Garfunkel told BBC Radio Devon’s Judi Spiers: “Bridge Over Troubled Water is a gospel phrase which Paul took from a gospel group. It was in a Baptist church hymn. He liked the phrase and he used it.” “.

From Wikipedia:

” “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright” is a song written by Paul Simon that was originally released on Simon & Garfunkel’s 1970 album Bridge over Troubled Water. It has since been released on several Simon & Garfunkel compilation albums. It has also been recorded by the London Pops Orchestra and Joe Chindamo trio. Art Garfunkel has stated that the origin of the song came from his request that Paul Simon write a song about the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright while Simon has stated that he wrote the song, despite not knowing who Wright was. Garfunkel sings lead on the majority of the song while Simon sings on the bridge.

The lyrics of “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright” have multiple meanings: on one level, the song praises the famous architect, who died in 1959. However, the lyrics also refer to the upcoming breakup of the Simon and Garfunkel duo. Art Garfunkel had studied to become an architect, so on this level the lyrics can be taken as a farewell from Paul Simon to his friend and partner Garfunkel like another song on Bridge over Troubled Water, “The Only Living Boy in New York.” While Garfunkel sings the song’s fadeout to the words “so long,” producer and engineer Roy Halee is heard on the recording calling out “So long already Artie!” Other lyrics of the song refer to the creative process, such as referring to the singer not having learned the tune and to the nights when the singer and Frank Lloyd Wright would “harmonize ’til dawn.” The lyrics also refer to the singer thinking of Wright when looking for inspiration.

The accompaniment includes congas, strings, a flute uncredited on the liner notes, bass and a classical guitar part played in bossa nova style, primarily using seventh chords. The song has a stately melody and the tune incorporates varied rhythms and syncopations. The song’s key modulates at the end of the first bridge from G-flat major to G major. Simon has recalled that he had been listening to Brazilian music, probably Antônio Carlos Jobim, when he wrote the tune for “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright.” Author Walter Everett suggests that the repeating note section of the bridge about one minute into the song effectively suggests the ordinariness of other architects, and also suggests some of Wright’s architectural signatures.

Garfunkel did not realise that Simon had intended the song to refer to their partnership until many years after the album had been released. In an interview he remarked that Simon “never let me in on that” secret. He added that “I find that a secretive and unpleasant thing to have done to you.” However, he has come to terms with the song, as he states in the liner notes to his 2012 compilation The Singer, in which “So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright” was included, that he can ignore this subtext, since the song is “just so much fun to sing”, and writes about Paul Simon that “one loves the giver of a beautiful gift”.”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: