The Only Living Boy in New York

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For the film of the same name, see The Only Living Boy in New York (film).
"The Only Living Boy in New York"
Song by Simon and Garfunkel
from the album Bridge over Troubled Water
Released January 26, 1970
Recorded November 1969
Genre Folk rock
Length 3:59
Label Columbia Records
Songwriter(s) Paul Simon

"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".[1] The background vocals feature both Garfunkel and Simon recorded together in an echo chamber, multi-tracked around eight times.[2]



  • The reggae hit "Weather Report", by The Tennors, was adapted from this song.
  • 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.[3]
  • This song was covered by The Coolies on their 1986 album dig..?, along with eight other tongue-in-cheek covers of Simon & Garfunkel classics.
  • 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).
  • 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.
  • Kishi Bashi covered the song as one of two singles released July 12, 2017 exclusively on Spotify, both songs having been recorded in the company's NYC studios in early April of the same year

Use in film[edit]

  • 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).
  • Used in the film with the same name: The Only Living Boy in New York (2017).

Use in other media[edit]


  1. ^ "The Words and Music of Paul Simon", James Bennighof, p. 48, Greenwood Publishing Group, 2007, ISBN 0-275-99163-6
  2. ^ Swenson, John. Simon and Garfunkel - A Musical Biography. (1984)
  3. ^ Charlesworth, C. (1997). The Complete Guide to the Music of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel. Omnibus Press. p. 52. ISBN 0-7119-5597-2.