Simon & Garfunkel & what you need to know

Folk pop duo Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon, playing in front of more than 50,000 people in Madrid, at the start of their European tour.

Story highlights

  • Simon and Garfunkel, like Bernie Sanders, are New York natives
  • The pair have won 10 Grammys and performed together since the 1950s

(CNN)Bernie Sanders is making his final argument to voters in Iowa and New Hampshire with a new, minute-long ad that pushes the candidate into the background and lets a pair of folk rock legends do the talking.

Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel provide the soundtrack for the spot, a montage of earthy, rural scenes and roaring Sanders campaign rallies, with their 1968 song, "America." It's a track off "Bookends," the New York artists' fourth album and a No. 1 hit in the charts.


    Like Sanders himself, Simon and Garfunkel are from the city's outerboroughs. All three were born in 1941 -- the Vermont senator in Brooklyn, while the musicians met and grew up together in late 1950s Queens. Together, Simon and Garfunkel would win nine Grammy Awards between 1969 and 1971, adding Lifetime Achievement honors in 2003.
    Through numerous breakups and reunions, including a 1981 concert that drew a reported half-million people to New York's Central Park, the pair have now performed together in parts of seven decades.

    Breaking out

    Despite the commercial success and longevity of "America," Simon and Garfunkel are best known for another song from the same album.
    "Mrs. Robinson" was written and recorded for the soundtrack to "The Graduate," director Mike Nichols' celebrated 1967 satire about a young man's affair with his would-be girlfriend's mother. The popular response to the film starring Dustin Hoffman and its music launched the group into superstardom.

    Back to politics

    Simon and Garfunkel split up most famously in 1971, but came together a year later to give a legendary performance for another presidential candidate, George McGovern, in New York City in June 1972.
    At the benefit, they played "Bridge Over Troubled Water," a cut from an album of the same title, their fifth and final studio record. A few weeks later, McGovern was the Democratic nominee.
    But Simon wouldn't be a liberal darling for long. In the mid-1980s, he became the target of global outrage for recording parts of his album, "Graceland," in South Africa, defying a cultural boycott of the apartheid nation. (Simon later said that he didn't regret his decision, but might have changed his plans had he been asked to support the boycott.)

    Who exactly is looking for "America"?

    "Let us be lovers, we'll marry our fortunes together," Simon croons in the ad, which is expected to air in Iowa and New Hampshire.
    The lyrics address a woman named "Kathy" -- believed to be Kathy Chitty, the British teen girlfriend who Simon dated during his time writing and performing in the U.K. years earlier. She is thought to have inspired Simon and Garfunkel's "Kathy's Song" and also appears alongside Simon on the cover of his solo album, "The Paul Simon Songbook."