THE SPILL MAGAZINE ARTIST PORTRAIT:
During his distinguished career Paul Simon has been the recipient of many honors and awards including 12 Grammy Awards, three of which (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years and Graceland) were albums of the year. In 2003 he was given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as half of the duo Simon and Garfunkel. He is a member of The Songwriters Hall of Fame, a recipient of their Johnny Mercer Award and is in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Simon and Garfunkel and as a solo artist. His song “Mrs. Robinson” from the motion picture The Graduate was named in the top ten of The American Film Institute’s 100 Years 100 Songs. He was a recipient of The Kennedy Center Honors in 2002 and was named as one of Time Magazine’s “100 People Who Shape Our World” in 2006. In 2007, Mr. Simon was awarded the first annual Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Named in honor of the legendary George and Ira Gershwin, this newly created award recognizes the profound and positive effect of popular music on the world’s culture, and is given annually to a composer or performer whose lifetime contributions exemplify the standard of excellence associated with the Gershwin’s. In 2011 Mr. Simon was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Of Mr. Simon’s many concert appearances he is most fond of the two concerts in Central Park in New York (with his partner and childhood friend Art Garfunkel in 1981 and as a solo artist in 1991) and the series of shows he did at the invitation of Nelson Mandela in South Africa: the first American artist to perform in post-apartheid South Africa. In 1998, his performance on center field at Yankee Stadium celebrating the unveiling of Joe DiMaggio’s monument is a treasured memory for this lifelong Yankee’s fan.
Paul Simon’s philanthropic work includes the co-founding of The Children’s Health Fund with Dr. Irwin Redlener. The CHF donates and staffs mobile medical vans that bring health care to poor and indigent children in urban and rural locations around the United States. Since it’s inception in 1986 it has provided over 3 million doctor/patient visits. In the wake of Hurricanes Andrew and Katrina it was the primary health care source for those communities decimated by the storms. Mr. Simon has also raised millions of dollars for worthy causes as varied as AMFAR, The Nature Conservancy, The Fund for Imprisoned Children in South Africa and Autism Speaks and The Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation.