Simon & Garfunkel

Fakin' It

Song Review by

Easily Simon & Garfunkel's most ambitious piece of music to date (1967), "Fakin' It" is a precursor to several other studio masterpieces that would follow, namely "The Boxer" and "Bridge Over Troubled Water." A virtual suite, the song opens and closes with a nod/tribute to the Beatles, with its high-pitched note (sounding like bagpipes) backed by marching drums, which is a dead-ringer for the end of "Strawberry Fields." The first main section of the song is built on a jazzy-blues acoustic guitar figure from Paul Simon that leads the listener into a casual atmosphere. The lyrics in this section are an autobiographical account of a relationship, and Simon conceived this while in a "hashish reverie." The buoyancy of the music neatly juxtaposes feelings of doubt and insecurity, which is some of Simon's funkiest pop. There is a striking interlude that features the voice of Beverly Martyn, a singer/songwriter that was befriended by the duo during the 1967 period. Like a fantasy cameo in a film, it presents a portrait of a man in a past life as a tailor in Europe, named "Mr. Leitch" (a reference to Donovan). Oddly, after recording the song, Simon learned that his grandfather -- also named Paul Simon -- was a tailor in Vienna. The song returns to the main theme before the Beatles/"Strawberry Fields" closing. All of this is less than four minutes; it's one of the most striking recordings and songs of the limit-smashing 1967/1968 period.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Bookends 1968 Columbia 1:23
Collected Works 1981 Columbia 3:19
Old Friends 1997 Columbia / Legacy 3:17
The Best of Simon & Garfunkel 1999 Columbia / Legacy 3:12
The Very Best of Simon & Garfunkel: Tales from New York 2000 Columbia / Legacy 3:19
The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970 2001 Legacy / Columbia 3:22
The Essential Simon & Garfunkel 2003 Columbia / Legacy 3:18
Bookends/Sounds of Silence 2009 Legacy 3:22
The Essential 3.0 2010 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 3:18
The Complete Albums Collection 2014 Sony Legacy 3:21
Tripping Down the Alleyways 2017 Go Faster Records 3:53