Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a ‘monster with a Napoleon complex’

Folk singer talks about strained relationship with former musical partner in new interview

Art Garfunkel has spoken in a new interview about his former musical partner, Paul Simon.

Garfunkel will make his live return to the UK later in the autumn, with a Royal Albert Hall show booked for September. First, the singer has talked to The Sunday Telegraph, describing Simon as a “monster”, “jerk” and “idiot” with a Napoleon complex.

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Addressing his decision to leave the folk duo following the pair’s most successful album ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’, Garfunkel said: “It was a weird stage of my life, to leave Simon & Garfunkel at the height of our success and become a math teacher. I would talk them through a math problem and ask if anyone had any questions and they would say: ‘What were the Beatles like?'”

He continued: “It was very strange. Nothing I would have done. I want to open up about this. I don’t want to say any anti Paul Simon things, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. Crazy. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry. But a rest of a year was all I needed. I said: ‘I’m not married yet. I want to jump on a BMW motorbike and tour round Europe chasing ladies’.”

Later in the Sunday Telegraph interview, Garfunkel suggests that he originally only befriended Simon out of pity for his height, adding: “That compensation gesture has created a monster”. When asked by the interviewer if Simon suffers from Napoleon complex due to his short stature, the singer added: “I think you’re on to something. I would say so, yes.

Garfunkel also compared his relationship with Simon to that of the Beatles’ George Harrison and Paul McCartney, saying: “George came up to me at a party once and said ‘my Paul is to me what your Paul is to you.’ He meant that psychologically they had the same effect on us. The Pauls sidelined us. I think George felt suppressed by Paul and I think that’s what he saw with me and my Paul. Here’s the truth: McCartney was a helluva music man who gave the band its energy, but he also ran away with a lot of the glory.”

Despite his comments, Garfunkel remains opens to another Simon & Garfunkel reunion, having last regrouped in 2010: “Will I do another tour with Paul? Well, that’s quite do-able. As far as this half is concerned, why not? But I’ve been in that same place for decades. This is where I was in 1971.”

Meanwhile, Paul Simon recently scored his first UK Number One album in 25 years. His greatest hits compilation ‘The Ultimate Collection’ topped the Official UK Albums Chart in April. Simon’s previous Number One album was 1990’s ‘The Rhythm Of The Saints’.