June 21 is World Music Day. It’s also the day that Art Garfunkel made his acting debut as Lt. Edward J Nately III, a pilot, in the 1970 movie, Catch-22.
The film began recording the year before in January 1969. Originally both Paul Simon and Garfunkel were cast. Simon was going to play a character named Dunbar but never appeared in the film.
Partway through filming, the film creators dropped Simon’s character. They felt there were too many characters in the film and decided to write Simon’s character out of the script.
Many know that this series of events inspired one of the duo’s final songs – “The Only Boy Living In New York.” But did you know that it was also a major factor in Simon & Garfunkel’s breakup in 1970?
Catch 22 Was A Factor In Simon & Garfunkel’s Breakup
In 2013, following a screening of Simon and Garfunkel: Songs Of America, Garfunkel and director Charles Grodin spoke to the media. The two implicated Mike Nichols, the director of Catch-22, as a major cause of the band’s split.
Grodin started, “That was the beginning of their split-up … You don’t take Simon & Garfunkel and ask them to be in a movie and then drop one of their roles on them. You just don’t do that.”
Garfunkel agreed, saying, “Yes, Chuck [Grodin]’s gone right to the heart of the difficulty in Simon & Garfunkel when he says, ‘Artie and Paul were cast for Catch-22, and Paul’s part was dropped.” That, of course, is an irritant of the first order.
“So I had Paul sort of waiting: ‘All right, I can take this for three months. I’ll write the songs, but what’s the fourth month? And why is Artie in Rome a fifth month? What’s Mike doing to Simon & Garfunkel?’ And so there’s Paul in the third month, still with a lot of heart, writing about, ‘I’m the only living boy in [New York]. You used to be the other one.’”
He continued, explaining that the aftermath of this created tensions that led to the 1970 break up.
Other Notable Rock Events From June 21
1948 – Columbia Records released the 33 ⅓ RPM long-playing record.
1955 – Johnny Cash debuted “Cry! Cry! Cry!”
1965 – The Byrds released their debut LP, Mr. Tambourine Man.
1966 – Jimmy Page made his live debut with The Yardbirds.
1966 – The Beatles record “She Said She Said.” The song was supposedly based on a strange conversation between Lennon and Peter Fonda.
1966 – The owner of the offshore pirate radio station, Radio City, was shot dead by William Smedley who owned the competing station, Radio Caroline.
1968 – Pink Floyd played two shows in one day: Commemoration Ball and Middle Earth Club.
1970 – The Who’s Pete Townsend said, Tommy is “going down a bomb” at the Memphis Airport. While the phrase simply meant the album was a hit, it caused a situation to which both police and FBI responded.
1970 – Jim Morrison of The Doors married Patricia Kennealy but the wedding was not legally binding.
1972 – Stonehedge plays host to The first Stonehenge Free Festival. The festival continued for 12 years and included acts like Jimmy Page, Hawkwind, and Crass.
1973 – Bread held their first live performance. Having lost all of their equipment in a car accident earlier that day, they had to pay with borrowed instruments.
1975 – Ritchie Blackmore quit Deep Purple to start Rainbow.
1977 – Johnny Rotten, lead singer for the Sex Pistols, was attacked during a brawl outside of Dingwall’s in London, England.
1979 – Velvet Underground’s drummer, Angus MacLise, who quit the band in 1965, died of TB at 34.
1979 – Mick Taylor released his first solo album following his departure from The Rolling Stones.
1981 – Steely Dan announced that they were breaking up.
1982 – The First World Music Day happened in Paris, France.
1985 – Ron Howard direct his first music video.
1986 – Genesis released their 13th album, Invisible Touch. It was their fourth #1 in the UK and produced 5 Top 5 singles in the US.
1988 – 18 years after they disbanded, The Rascals reunited on stage.
1990 – Little Richard got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
2000 – Karen McNeil was imprisoned for one year for stalking Axl Rose. She claimed she was his wife and could communicate with him telepathically.
2001 – John Lee Hoker, who’s been covered many times by rock artists like Cream, AC/C, ZZ Top, and Led Zeppelin, died in his sleep at 83.
2011 – Session artist Blen Campbell, who played with The Monkees, Elvis, and The Beach Boys was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.
2016 – Wayne Jackson died from congestive heart failure at 74. He was part of the Memphis Horns du, alongside Andrew Love. The two played on over 50 #1 songs with artists like Elvis, Neil Diamond, Aretha Franklin, and the Doobie Brothers.
2016 – Reports released that say Led Zeppelin refused a $14 million offer to perform at the 2016 Desert Trip Festival.
2019 – Elliot Roberts died at 76. He was a music manager and record exec who managed Neil Young for over 50 years, as well as other artists.
1944 – Ray Davies of The Kinks (Vocals)
1950 – Joey Kramer of Aerosmith (Drums)
1951 – Nils Lofgren of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and Ringo Starr’s All-Starr Band (Piano)
1959 – Marcella Detroit co-writer of “Lay Down Sally” (Vocals and Guitar)
1976 – Mike Einziger of Incubus (Guitar)
1981 – Brandon Flowers of The Killers (Multi-Instrumentalist)
On This Day In History – June 21
June 21 is World Music Day, making it the perfect time to reflect back on some of the greatest moments in rock history.
From groundbreaking album releases to memorable performances and iconic moments, this date has become a milestone for rock enthusiasts worldwide. So whether your reminiscing about the impact Catch-22 had on Simon & Garfunkel’s breakup or celebrating the debut of iconic artists and albums, be sure to take a moment to celebrate June 21 and World Music Day!