Art Garfunkel appeared in his third film, Nicholas Roeg’s BAD TIMING – A SENSUAL OBSESSION with Theresa Russell and Harvey Keitel. Art plays Dr. Alex Linden, an American psychoanalyst and professor at the University of Vienna. The story revolves around the passionate and often hostile relationship between Alex and the seductive Milena Flaherty (Russell). The part would turn out to be Art’s most demanding acting project to date. The acting emotions were intensively passionate and required each of the lead actors to stretch beyond anything they had done before. Art Garfunkel’s performance as a serious actor again received wide praise by critics. The movie won for Best Film at the Toronto Film Festival.
In the Fall, Art Garfunkel recorded background vocals on Stephen Bishop’s album RED CAB TO MANHATTAN.
In October, Art’s favorite baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals 4 games to 2, to become the 1980 World Series Champions.
During the Fall, Art began recording tracks for SCISSORS CUT, his next album. Art also recorded the Stephen Bishop song, “One Less Holiday,” although this tune would not be released until 1993’s UP ‘TIL NOW.
In August, the concert promoter, Ron Delsner asked Paul Simon if he would be willing to perform a free concert in New York’s Central Park Paul was reluctant about the public’s response. His recent album ONE-TRICK PONY did not sell well and the film of the same title faded quickly, leaving Paul a bit down. He decided the time was right for a Simon & Garfunkel reunion concert. Paul contacted Art who was traveling in Switzerland and they both agreed to do the show. Approximately 500,000 people attended the performance on September 19th. Apparently, after ten years, the public wanted and perhaps needed S&G together again, even if only for one night. The response from fans as well as the media was overwhelming. It truly was a memorable evening. Both Paul and Art decided to tighten up the show a bit (and tune Richard Tee’s piano!) and take the show on the road (U.S., Europe & the Far East) for 19 shows over the next 18 months.
In August, Art released his fifth solo album SCISSORS CUT (U.S. #113, U.K. #51). This album included the Gallagher & Lyle hit “A Heart in New York” (U.S. #61). The U.K. version contains the track “The Romance” rather than “Bright Eyes.” The album was co-produced by Roy Halee, who also co-produced the S&G albums, including BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER. Paul Simon makes a brief appearance on “In Cars” performing background vocals. Near the end of the song, Art sings, rather mystically, two lines from “Scarborough Fair/Canticle” (“Remember me to one who lives there, she once was a true love of mine” – a reference to Laurie Bird?) The album is dedicated to Laurie Bird and includes a partial photograph of Ms. Bird on the rear cover. Art was devastated by Ms. Bird’s death in Art’s New York apartment while he was in Europe filming BAD TIMING – A SENSUAL OBSESSION. Art was quoted at the time, “Laurie was the greatest thing I ever knew in my life, now I’ve lost it.” In 1988, he added, “I took her death terribly and remained moody over it through much of the 80’s.” Probably why he did not release another solo album until 1988’s LEFTY (excluding 1986’s THE ANIMALS’ CHRISTMAS with Amy Grant).
Having been fascinated by the English language his entire life, Art Garfunkel began to realize that he had a gift, the ability to write prose poems. Art would continue to write throughout the decade and this work would culminate in a collection of prose poems published in 1989 entitled STILL WATER.
In the Spring, the long awaited Simon & Garfunkel – THE CONCERT IN CENTRAL PARK album was released (US #6, UK #6). This was their first album since BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER (1970). Stephen Holden wrote in ROLLING STONE Magazine, “If The Concert in Central Park is Paul Simon’s valentine to the Big Apple, it is Art Garfunkel’s voice that really tugs at the heartstrings and sends the message home.” In April, to promote the album, Art and Paul announced plans for a world tour (1982-83) in a press conference at the Carlton Tower Hotel in London. Included on the tour:
May 28, Offenbach; May 30, Dortmund; June 1, Berlin; June 4, Copenhagen; June 6, Stockholm; June 8& 9, Paris; June 10, Zurich; June 12, Rotterdam; June 15, Dublin; June 19, London.
“Mrs. Robinson” became a #1 hit in France, 15 years after its initial release. The album sold so heavily in Europe during the tour that one out of every two Dutch families purchased a copy.
In February, HBO broadcasted “Simon and Garfunkel: The Concert in Central Park.” It would later be released as a successful selling video.
In the mid-1980’s, Art Garfunkel’s obsession with long-distance walking began to come into focus, starting with a three and a half-week hike across the rice paddies and back roads of Japan in 1982.
In December, Art Garfunkel recorded background vocals on the Crosby, Stills and Nash album DAYLIGHT AGAIN.
During the Holiday’s, Art sung a small solo piece at a children’s concert at St. Mark’s Church in Tuxedo Park, N.Y. in a concerto composed by Jimmy Webb. This was a prelude to THE ANIMALS’ CHRISTMAS.
During the Spring, Simon & Garfunkel continued their highly-successful European tour. In July and August, they brought the tour back to the U.S. for a series of “stadium” concerts.
July 19, Akron; July 20, Pontiac; July 21, Toronto (Canada); July 23, Chicago; July 27, Milwaukee; July 28, Minneapolis; July 29, Pittsburg; July 31 E. Rutherford; August 3, Foxboro; August 6, New York; August 13, Laurel; August 14, Atlanta; August 17, Houston; August 18, Dallas; August 20, Oakland; August 22, Vancouver (Canada); August 27, Los Angeles; August 28, San Diego; August 30, Boulder.
These US dates were in addition to the 19 concerts they performed during their international tour (1981-83). A full segment of ABC’s “20/20” was devoted to Simon & Garfunkel in honor of their “Summer Evening Tour.”
On August 16th, Art Garfunkel attended the wedding of Paul Simon and Carrie Fisher. The ceremony was held in Paul’s west side apartment.
In December, Art and Susan Webb (Jimmy’s sister) perform at the Royal Festival Hall. This show was the British premiere of Jimmy Webb’s THE ANIMALS’ CHRISTMAS. All profits from the show went to a London children’s charity. The concert was later broadcast on British radio on Christmas Day. Earlier in the month, THE ANIMALS’ CHRISTMAS had two performances in New York’s St. John the Divine Cathedral.
In the December 20th issue of THE NEW YORK DAILY NEWS, Patricia O’Haire wrote about Art Garfunkel’s performance of “The Animals’ Christmas” at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.
The music they were hearing was composed by Jimmy Webb, who’s known for his hit songs “Up, Up and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “MacArthur Park.” But this time his music is a small, cantata-type piece called “The Animals’ Christmas,” and it was given two performances Sunday from the alter… to benefit the T.J. Martel Foundation for Leukemia and Cancer Research.
Garfunkel, in white tie and tails, stood in the pulpit on the left side of the altar while singing; Susan Skylar, who sang some of the vocals, stood on a raised platform on the right. In between them were a 24-voice children’s choir who did the backup vocals, and a full orchestra. The session was recorded live, to be issued some time in the future as an album.
Though two or three of the songs were poems Webb had set to music, and one was a 12th century carol, most of the lyrics and all of the music were Webb originals. The music is unaffected, rather charming; the rhythmic schemes are simple and the story they describe is about the birds, the fish and other members of the animal kingdom – where they were and what they did when Christ child was born in Bethlehem.
One of the numbers described how a cat named Phat led Mary and Joseph to a stable, where other animals could keep warm when there was no room at the inn, how the roosters warned the Holy Family that soldiers were coming after King Herod decreed that all firstborn male children were to be killed; how a donkey carried them to Egypt and the wild geese, soaring high above, made an arrow in the sky to point their way.
“The Animals’ Christmas”… could easily become a classic in schools and churches, since so much of it is tailored for the voices of children. “
Art Garfunkel recorded background vocals on the Christopher Cross album ANOTHER PAGE.
Art Garfunkel began his Walk across America. Starting out from New York, Art will make periodic trips of 100 miles or so, return to New York, and later, go back to where he left off and continue on his odyssey. He will begin to write poetry along the way. In October, Art Garfunkel released a single entitled, “Sometimes When I’m Dreaming,” written by Mike Batt (who also composed “Bright Eyes”). In December, THE ART GARFUNKEL ALBUM (UK #12) was released. This was a greatest hits compilation and included the new song, “Sometimes When I’m Dreaming.” Surprisingly, neither the single or the greatest hits album were released in the United States. It would not be until 1988 when Columbia released a less than complete greatest hits compilation entitled GARFUNKEL.
Art Garfunkel accompanied by good friend Jimmy Webb, travel to Tahiti and sail the Polynesian Islands in the South Pacific.
Art filmed his part as a reporter in Washington, D.C. for the movie GOOD TO GO (a.k.a. SHORT FUSE).
Art continued to record vocals for the upcoming album THE ANIMALS’ CHRISTMAS in London at St. Paul’s Cathedral, at the Air Studios in the British West Indies, and with Amy Grant in Nashville, Tennessee.
In the Fall, Art met the future Mrs. Garfunkel, Kathryn (Kim) Cermak.