In 1981, the stars aligned and Simon and Garfunkel reunited for the Concert in Central Park. To advertise it, a poster was put up around New York City. Now almost forty years later, that poster represents a unique and significant moment in the duo’s career.
It had been over a decade since Simon and Garfunkel had broken up. Personal turmoil caused them to go their separate ways after recording their landmark final album, “Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Although they would occasionally come together for rare guest appearances, their troubled relationship made a full-fledged reunion seem unlikely.
This changed when New York City contacted them about the possibility of a benefit concert for the deteriorated Central Park. Simon and Garfunkel both agreed to help their hometown raise the renovation funds with a reunion show.
The show was a massive success, and an estimated 500,000 people attended. The concert was free to attend, but donations and proceeds from promotional material raised around $51,000.
The setlist covered many of the duo’s most popular songs – “Mrs. Robinson”, “Homeward Bound”, and “The Sound of Silence” were all performed. They also included many of Paul Simon’s solo hits, giving Garfunkel a chance to sing on songs like “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard” and “Kodachrome”.
The concert was filmed and turned into a successful live album. Unfortunately, the performance did not lead to more studio collaborations between the two. However, they would continue to sporadically reunite onstage throughout the following decades. The Concert in Central Park opened the door for these reunions and remains one of their most memorable performances.
The poster was created by Michael Doret, an acclaimed designer who has worked on everything from KISS album covers to the New York Knicks logo. Doret often uses creative lettering in his art, which is prominent in this poster.
It depicts looking up at the night sky from Central Park – surrounded by trees and the New York skyline. According to Doret, inspiration for the design came from his childhood passion for stargazing and a “Sky Explorer” wheel chart.
The poster was put up around the city to inform people about the show, so all the important information is provided. Date, time, and directions to the concert’s location are all presented in a way that does not detract from the design.
Sadly, it was not actually available for purchase at the concert. However, in 2015 Doret made limited edition reproductions available through his website. These posters are 18 x 24″, the same size as the original.
The art and poster represent an important moment in Simon and Garfunkel’s long on-again-off-again career. That night in Central Park showed that reconciliation was possible between the two artists. The design was not only used for posters. It was also printed on T-shirts available at the event. Art Garfunkel later wore one onstage, cementing its significance in the history of one of music’s greatest duos.
To read more of what Michael Doret had to say about his process and this work, check out his blog here: http://alphabetsoupblog.com/?p=3402