The year was 1957. A young Neil Sedaka was striking out on his own after having regional success with his band The Tokens. Bill Haley was reminding us that there is no 13 o'clock after 12 o'clock with his band The Comets. Buddy Holly was touring with a singing duo named The Everly Brothers and those Everly Brothers were inspiring two singing teenagers from New York City with their terrific harmonies. One of those teens had an angelic voice. The other could sing, too, but his real talent was in songwriting.
They were only 15, but their songs were becoming very popular among their classmates at Forest Hills High School in Queens. One song in particular was all the buzz. It was called "Hey Schoolgirl". For $25, the teens recorded a demo of "Hey Schoolgirl," hoping to impress the music men making hits at the nearby Brill Building. In the next room was a producer named Sid Prosen who worked for a newish record label called Big Records. He cut the record, gave them some clean-cut clothes to match the innocence of their age and gave them stage names, too. The songwriter and guitarist would be called Jerry Landis and the angelic tenor would be called Tom Graph. Together, they would be known as Tom and Jerry.
(L-R: Jerry Landis and Tom Graph)
Tom and Jerry managed to appear after Jerry Lee Lewis on Dick Clark's American Bandstand, where they premiered their single. The performance made "Hey Schoolgirl" somewhat of a hit song. It reached Number 49 on the charts and eventually sold 100,000 copies. They recorded some more songs, none of which did a damn thing—that probably broke their little hearts. In 1959, Tom and Jerry turned 18 and they went off to college. Their career was over.
Or was it?
Subsequent bullshit happened for a few years and then Tom and Jerry decided to reunite. This time they used their real names, which were Arthur and Paul, respectively. The success Arthur and Paul had—and have continued to have— was enormous. Together they became one of the biggest acts of the 60s, racking up hit songs, Grammys and critical acclaim along the way. Of course, we know Arthur and Paul better as Art and Paul. Perhaps their names are more familiar with when they are reversed as Paul and Art. If you haven't figured it out by now, they are Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel.
Here's one of their songs called "The Only Living Boy In New York." It should now surprise no one that the song's first line "Tom get your plane right on time" refers to Tom Graph aka Art Garfunkel. Wild.
"Hey Schoolgirl" by Tom and Jerry and "The Only Living Boy In New York" by Simon & Garfunkel
I wonder if there were any Tom and Jerry fans who are completely unaware that the singing duo later became Simon & Garfunkel. Probably not.