They had the sound and they had the songs -- and the combination made them legends. The team of Paul Simon
and Art Garfunkel
perfected a trademark approach that mated the duo's matchless vocal harmonies to Simon's poetic and eminently melodic tunes. The premier folk-rock act of their time, Simon & Garfunkel lasted a mere six years as a recording team; even so, the 33 tracks on the double-disc Essential
provide all the proof necessary as to why they have maintained their unimpeachable stature. (Essential
was released to coincide with the duo's 2003 reunion tour -- 32 years after their original breakup.) Touching upon highlights of each of the S&G's five original albums, this sterling collection brings together every Top 100 song released by the pair, as well as live recordings and the 1975 reunion hit "My Little Town." In doing so, the scope of Simon's brilliant song craft, the longtime friend's one-voice harmonies, and the occasional performances that spotlighted their distinctive solo voices, are given full display. There have been other Simon & Garfunkel collections over the years, but few carry this condensed punch.