The Only Living Boy in New York
|"The Only Living Boy in New York"|
|Song by Simon and Garfunkel from the album Bridge over Troubled Water|
|Released||January 26, 1970|
"The Only Living Boy in New York" is a song written by Paul Simon and performed by Simon & Garfunkel. It is the eighth track from the American pop duo's fifth and final studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water. The song was also issued as the B-side to the duo's "Cecilia" single.
Simon wrote this as a thinly veiled message to Art Garfunkel, referencing a specific incident where Garfunkel went to Mexico to act in the film Catch-22. Simon was left alone in New York writing songs for Bridge over Troubled Water, hence the lonely feelings of "The Only Living Boy in New York." Simon refers to Garfunkel in the song as "Tom", alluding to their early days when they were called Tom and Jerry, and encourages him to "let your honesty shine . . . like it shines on me". The background vocals feature both Garfunkel and Simon recorded together in an echo chamber, multi-tracked around eight times.
- Paul Simon — lead vocals, background vocals, acoustic guitar
- Art Garfunkel — backup and harmony vocals
- Joe Osborn — bass guitar
- Larry Knechtel — Hammond organ
- Fred Carter, Jr. — acoustic guitar
- Hal Blaine — drums, triangle
- The reggae hit "Weather Report", by The Tennors, was adapted from this song.
- The 1990s British indie band Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine parodied the title of the song for their biggest-selling single, "The Only Living Boy in New Cross". (New Cross is an area of south-east London).
- A cover of the song was played by Everything but the Girl on their album Home Movies; video directed by Hal Hartley. Everything but the Girl's version was a Top 50 single in the UK in 1993.
- This song was covered by The Coolies on their 1986 album Dig.
- Black 47 frontman Larry Kirwan covered the song on his 2001 solo project Kilroy Was Here.
- Marc Cohn released a cover version as part of his 2010 album of tribute songs, Listening Booth: 1970.
- Passenger, The Once and Stu Larsen covered the song as part of their American Tour series.
- Jim Guthrie
- Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer performed a short tease of the song at the band's show on February 18, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City
Use in film
- Everything but the Girl's cover was featured in the 2002 film Tadpole
- The original recording is featured as part of the soundtrack for the 2004 film Garden State
- Used as part of the soundtrack of the 2009 film New York, I Love You.
- Honda has used sections of this song for their television commercials of the 2011 Accord.
- The original recording is featured during the final scenes of the second season finale of Alphas.
- The original recording is used in the credits of the film Koch
- The original recording was used in the first season finale of BBC3's comedy Uncle.
- Used in the final scene of the HBO film version of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart (2014).
Use in other media
- David Gallaher and Steve Ellis used the song as inspiration for their 2009 "The Only Living Boy" webcomic series.
- "The Words and Music of Paul Simon", James Bennighof, p. 48, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, ISBN 0-275-99163-6
- Swenson, John. Simon and Garfunkel - A Musical Biography. (1984)
- Charlesworth, C. (1997). The Complete Guide to the Music of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel. Omnibus Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-7119-5597-2.