Fakin' It (Simon & Garfunkel song)

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This article is about the Simon & Garfunkel song. For the K. Michelle song, see Fakin' It (K. Michelle song). For other uses, see Fakin' It (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with the Seether song Fake It.
"Fakin' It"
Single by Simon & Garfunkel
from the album Bookends
B-side "You Don't Know Where Your Interest Lies"
Released July 7, 1967
Format 7" single
Recorded June 1967
Columbia Studio A
(New York City)
Length 2:74 (3:14)
Label Columbia
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Simon & Garfunkel singles chronology
"At the Zoo"
"Fakin' It"
"Scarborough Fair/Canticle"

"Fakin' It" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on July 7, 1967 as the third single from the duo's fourth studio album, Bookends (1968).


Shortly before production began in earnest on Simon & Garfunkel's fourth LP, Bookends, Paul Simon hit a dry spell in his writing.[1] Amid concerns for Simon's idleness, Columbia Records chairman Clive Davis arranged for up-and-coming record producer John Simon to kick-start the recording.[2]

His first session with the group was for "Fakin' It" in June 1967.[3] The duo were signed under an older contract that specified the label pay for sessions ("As a folk duo, how much could recording costs be?" said John Simon).[3] Simon & Garfunkel took advantage of this indulgence, hiring viola and brass players, as well as percussionists.[4] When the viola players arrived, the duo were so taken with the sound of the musicians tuning their instruments before recording that they spent nearly all night (at Columbia's expense) trying to find the random sound.[4]


In "Fakin' It", melodies are occasionally deleted to suit lyrics, but the song generally follows a similar chord structure and melodic outline over a "funky rock beat" that sonically references the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows".[5] The song opens with an "unearthly rhythmic sound" (that some critics felt owed a debt to the Beatles' "Strawberry Fields Forever") that was an example of Simon & Garfunkel's desire to push the limits of studio recording.[6] Near the middle of the song is a brief spoken word vignette featuring a British woman entering a tailor shop and greeting the owner: "Good morning, Mr. Leitch. Have you had a busy day?"[6] The woman performing was singer Beverley Martyn, who was friends with singer-songwriter Donovan. Donovan's last name was Leitch, hence the name's use in the song.[6] The line arose from an occasion in which Simon was wondering what his occupation would be had he been born a century earlier; he settled on the idea that he may have been a tailor, and likely from Vienna or Hungary, as that is where his ancestors migrated from.[6] Simon's father revealed to him later that, coincidentally, his grandfather was a tailor named also named Paul from Vienna.[6]

The song finds the protagonist mulling over his insecurities and shortcomings.[7] It has been suggested that "Fakin' It" may be an allegory for Simon's relationship with Art Garfunkel.[8]


"Fakin' It" was issued as a single that summer and found only modest success on AM radio; the duo were much more focused on the rising FM format, which played album cuts and treated their music with respect.[9] The running time of the song was actually 3 minutes and 14 seconds. Radio stations at the time resisted playing songs lasting longer than three minutes, so Paul Simon had the time "faked" to read 2:74 on the label.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100 23



  1. ^ Fornatale 2007, p. 60.
  2. ^ Fornatale 2007, p. 62.
  3. ^ a b Fornatale 2007, p. 63.
  4. ^ a b Fornatale 2007, p. 64.
  5. ^ Bennighof 2007, p. 38.
  6. ^ a b c d e Fornatale 2007, p. 95.
  7. ^ Bennighof 2007, p. 37.
  8. ^ Eliot 2007, p. 95.
  9. ^ Fornatale 2007, p. 66.


External links[edit]