Simon Cowell's Grenfell Tower single: Story behind classic song Bridge Over Troubled Water

The song is instantly recognisable, having been originally released by Simon and Garfunkel back in 1970 and subsequently covered by the likes of Aretha Franklin and Elvis Presley.

Paul Simon noted that Claude Jeter’s line in Swan Silvertones’ gospel song Mary Don’t You Weep was a big source of inspiration. 

It goes: “I’ll be your bridge over deep water if you trust in me.”

In fact, gospel producer and historian Anthony Heilbut claimed that Simon even gave Jeter compensation in acknowledgement of his influence.

Bridge Over Troubled Water was initially written for the guitar but was soon transposed to the piano, and it became the number one song of 1970 on the Billboard chart.

Art Garfunkel sang the lead on the track, but when relations between he and Simon began to fray, the latter is quoted as saying in Paul Simon: A Life that he wished he had done it himself.

“He [Garfunkel] felt I should have done it,” he revealed. “And many times on a stage, though, when I’d be sitting off to the side and Larry Knechtel would be playing the piano and Artie would be singing Bridge, people would stomp and cheer when it was over, and I would think, ‘That’s my song, man.’”

The song has sold over six million copies worldwide, making it one of the best-selling tracks of all time.

Aretha Franklin’s gospel-inspired cover was released in March 1971 and won the Grammy Award for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance in 1972.

Presley also sang it in the early 1970s, and Linda Clifford’s up-tempo disco version came out in 1979 – lasting over ten minutes in length.

More recently, the song was featured prominently in the 2001 series Popstars when Hear’Say recorded it as a B-side to their debut single Pure And Simple.

Now, Simon Cowell has assembled an A-list team of hitmakers to record a new version in aid of the Grenfell Tower fire relief effort.

Emeli Sande, Rita Ora, Louisa Johnson, Leona Lewis, Pixie Lott, Paloma Faith, Craig David, James Blunt, Stormzy, multiple members of One Direction and Kelly Jones are among those involved.

Celine Dion and Robbie Williams are also thought to be recording lines.

The song, for which Theresa May has waived VAT, is expected to be released on Wednesday.

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Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

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