What No. 1 Simon & Garfunkel hit was called "beautiful, almost religious-oriented ballad"?

Simon & Garfunkel on 'Ready, Steady, Go!
Simon & Garfunkel on 'Ready, Steady, Go! / Hulton Archive/GettyImages

Simon & Garfunkel was the American folk rock duo of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who created some of the best music of the 1960s. In January 1970, the duo released their first single from their fifth and final, same-titled album, "A Bridge Over Troubled Water," which topped the charts on February 28.

The song was written by Simon, who produced it with Garfunkel and Roy Halee. The title was inspired by Swan Silvertones member Claude Jeter's line "I'll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in my name" from the song "Mary Don't You Weep." It is rumored that Simon compensated Jeter for using the lyric.

Billboard called the song a "beautiful, almost religious-oriented ballad," which is interesting as Simon used "O Sacred Head, Now Wounded," a Christian hymn, to inspire parts of the melody. The single would top Billboard Hot 100 and the Adult Contemporary chart for six weeks each. Billboard would rank "Bridge Over Troubled Water" as the No. 1 song in 1970.

Is Bridge Over Troubled Water about drugs?

One misconception about the song is that the line "Sail on, silver girl" refers to a hypodermic needle used by drug addicts, but it is actually a reference to Simon's then-wife Peggy Harper who had just noticed her first grey hairs.

Bridge Over Troubled Water - Album of the Year

Bridge Over Troubled Water won Album of the Year at the 1971 Grammy Awards. The single won five, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Contemporary Song, Best Arrangement, Instrumental, and Vocals. The album released three additional singles: "The Boxer," "Cecilia," and "El Condor Pasa (If I Could)."

"Bridge Over Troubled Water," despite its five-minute length, became Simon & Garfunkel's signature act and one of the most performed songs of the 20th Century. The single has been covered by over 50 artists, including Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Aretha Franklin, and more. The Johnny Cash and Fiona Apple collab was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals in 2003.

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