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Art Garfunkel

April 1997

Imagine telling the wife that you're nipping out for a walk - and not returning for 12 years. That's what Art Garfunkel did in 1984, when he set off to walk across America. The former half of the phenomenally successful Simon & Garfunkel duo, the voice behind the Watership Down theme Bright Eyes, and star of cult movies Catch 22 and Carnal Knowledge, has some explaining to do.
"Well, I did it because I'm a New Yorker and when you're a New Yorker it's not easy to get exercise," he says. "I had walked across Japan in the early-80s and I found it peaceful and suitable to my style. I'm a thoughtful type of guy."
It was a walk that he was to complete in 40 instalments, staying in motels along the way and spending most of the journey alone.
"I'm happy with my own company. I don't feel lonely when I'm alone."
Although not everyone understood what he called his "right to feel free to pursue life, liberty and happiness."
"Cops would stop me, they'd want to know what I was doing. And I would say I am living out the American birthright. You know that word freedom, well I'm bringing it from the abstract to concrete."
Garfunkel staged a concert at the end of the walk in April of last year in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.
An album of the concert was released called Across America and it's from that and his forthcoming album Songs From A Parent To A Child that he'll be showcasing at the Royal Concert Hall on Tuesday.
Although Garfunkel promises to walk across Europe in the near future, he has no other direct plans for much else.
"All of life is circumstance and opportunity, you say 'yes' and 'no' to various things and that becomes your life," he explains.
Erm, I'll get me coat.

Born in Queens, New York.
At the age of 11 he was singing Everly Brothers songs at school talent shows with Paul Simon.
As Tom & Jerry they landed their first record contract in 1957.
After a minor hit Hey Schoolgirl, the duo separated and Garfunkel went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Art History and Masters Degree in Architecture from Columbia University.
While studying he recorded a number of singles as Arty Garr.
In 1962 the duo reformed and recorded six albums until their split in 1970. Both continued with successful solo careers.
In 1981 Simon & Garfunkel re-united for a free concert in New York's Central Park in front of 500,000 people.
The duo won countless awards including a Brit Award in 1977 for Bridge Over Troubled Water as Best International Pop LP and Single 1952-77.
Apart from Catch 22 and Carnal Knowledge, Garfunkel has appeared in countless films, including Bad Timing: A Sensual Obsession and Boxing Helena.
On Feelin' Groovy, Art duets with his 6 year old son James.

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