In 1913, Daniel Alomía Robles composed "El Cóndor Pasa", and the song was first performed publicly at the Teatro Mazzi in Lima.
Paul Simon heard a version called "Paso Del Condor" by Jorge Milchberg, who was head of the group Urubamba (then known as Los Incas), who told Simon that the song was an 18th-century musical composition by an anonymous composer. Simon became interested in the song and composed new lyrics for the melody. The song appeared on Simon and Garfunkel's 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water and they used without permission the instrumental version of Los Incas as the basic-track. Simon became friendly with the group through this song and ended up touring with them and producing their first American album. On the Simon & Garfunkel version, Robles, Milchberg, and Simon are all listed as songwriters. Later that year, Perry Como released a cover of Simon's English version on his album It's Impossible, while Julie Felix took advantage of Simon and Garfunkel's decision not to release their version as a UK single, and had a UK Top 20 hit with it. Simon & Garfunkel did release their version as a single in the U.S., which reached #18 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart in fall 1970.
In 1970, Alomía Robles' son Armando Robles Godoy filed a copyright lawsuit against Simon and demonstrated that the song had been composed by his father and that his father had copyrighted the song in the United States in 1933. Robles Godoy said that he bears no ill will towards Simon for what he considers a misunderstanding. "It was an almost friendly court case, because Paul Simon was very respectful of other cultures. It was not carelessness on his part," says Robles Godoy. "He happened to hear the song in Paris from a vernacular group. He liked it, he went to ask them and they gave him the wrong information. They told him it was a popular tune from the 18th Century and not my father’s composition. It was a court case without further complications."