The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)

Album: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme (1966)

Songfacts®:

  • The 59th Street bridge (officially the Queensboro Bridge), goes over the East River in New York City, connecting Queens to Manhattan. Simon & Garfunkel are from New York, which has a very hectic pace. In this song they remind us to slow down and appreciate the simple pleasures in life, like cobblestones and flowers.
  • When he performed at Tufts University in 1966, Simon said of this song: "I spent most of the year 1965 living in England, and at the end of that year in December, I came back to the United States, 'The Sound Of Silence' had become a big hit, and I had to make this adjustment from being relatively unknown in England to being semi-famous here, and I didn't really swing with it. It was a very difficult scene to make, and I was writing very depressed-type songs until around June of last year. I started to swing out of it, I was getting into a good mood, and I remember coming home in the morning about 6 o'clock over the 59th Street Bridge in New York, and it was such a groovy day really, a good one, and it was one of those times when you know you won't be tired for about an hour, a sort of a good hanging time, so I started to write a song that later became the 59th Street Bridge Song or Feelin' Groovy."
  • The Queensboro Bridge is notoriously noisy and mechanical. You walk on metal graters that vibrate as the traffic zooms by, creating a dangerous and exciting sensation. This could be the background for "Slow down, you move too fast..."
  • Despite being one of Simon & Garfunkel's best-known songs, this was never a hit for them. However in 1967 a more pop-oriented version by Harpers Bizarre with higher vocals peaked at #13 in the US and #34 in the UK.
  • This is one of the first uses of the word "Groovy" in a popular song. It gave the songwriters Carole Bayer Sager and Toni Wine inspiration for the first "Groovy" hit: "A Groovy Kind Of Love."
  • Two members of the Dave Brubeck Quartet played on this track: bassist Gene Wright and drummer Joe Morello.
  • Paul Simon rarely played this at his solo shows, claiming he hated the song. At his May 19, 2018 concert in Portland, Oregon, he forgot the lyrics to the song he was playing ("The Cool, Cool River") and played "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" as punishment. "I'm going to penalize myself," he said. "I'm going to sing one of my songs that I loathe."

Comments: 17

  • Frederic from VirginiaA possible explanation for the title is that the NY police department confiscated large quantities of marijuana in a time when people were still naive to the affects of setting ablaze this amount of weed. It was burned near the 59th st bridge. Once can guess how groovy people in the area felt.

    HR Pufnstuf was a cult children’s show winner for 1969’s Saturday morning television. It was generally about good versus evil with life sized puppets and a boy stranded on their island. Paul Simon sued Sid and Marty Krofft because the opening tune for the cartoon closely resembled “The 59th Street Bridge Song”. He won and they gave him credit at the end of the show.

    On May, 2017, Paul Simon stopped by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, and in a cold open segment, Colbert tried to get Simon to play Simon & Garfunkel's 1966 classic "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)."
    Simon told Colbert, "I loathe that song," saying it was naive and "doesn't feel like two thousand seventeen."
  • Seventhmist from 7th HeavenI always wondered if Paul's groovy feelin' came from a few hallucinogenic substances.
  • Fred from Lake Havasu City, AzDuring Simon and Garfunkel's first concert in Chicago, he started "59th Street Bridge Song" when the spotlight on them shifted to red. Paul started to chuckle and said "Everyone - dig the red light. This song was written under the influence of red lights."
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyHere's some obscure trivia:
    On November 2nd 1867, the magazine 'Harper's Bazaar' was founded; and just under one-hundred years later on February 12th, 1967 the Harpers Bizarre’s covered version of "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88...
    (See the next post below}.
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 12th 1967, "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)" by Harpers Bizarre entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #88; and on March 26th it peaked at #13 (for 2 weeks) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
    Was track five from their debut album, 'Feelin' Groovy'...
    One other track from the album also made the Top 100; "Come To The Sunshine" (#37)...
    Their last Top 100 entry was a covered version of Johnny Horton's 1959 #1 record "The Battle of New Orleans"; their version reached #95.
  • Stephen from Cape Coral, FlHas anyone ever considered that "The 59th Street Bridge Song" is really about an early morning dog walk? Look again at the words.
  • Bottyguy from Raleigh, NcI'd like to correct the first commenter. There is a walk/bikeway across the queensboro bridge. You can google it. The comment from Paul Simon however doesn't indicate whether he was walking, driving, or skipping across the bridge.
  • John from Joplin, Mo/queens, Ny, MoOne interesting comment? The 59th street bridge doesnt have a a pedestrian walkway! LOL
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NyHey look, some idiot's dancing on the bridge talking to the lampposts. This is such a fun song, and one of the few truly happy songs ever written by Paul Simon.
  • Bubba from Anaheim, CaLed Zeppelin performed a version of Feelin Groovy live in the boogie middle section of Whole Lotta Love..bubba Anaheim hill ca
  • Meredith from Wauwatosa, WiThis song was also covered by Harpers Bizarre, but I prefer hearing Simon and Garfunkel sing it. This song is very cute and fun to sing along with!
  • Nick from Bethlehem, PaHi Michael,

    It was the flip side of "At The Zoo" in America, I have the 45 with the picture sleeve showing S&G's faces on two animals' bodies. The imported copies must have a different flip. Was "At The Zoo" released as a single in Germany?

    Be good,
    Nick
  • Nick from Bethlehem, PaHi guys,

    A little enlightenment about "The 59th Street Bridge Song". It was released as the flip side of "At The Zoo". The reason Paul didn't want it on the A Side is because he felt "we're a folk group, how can we be feelin' groovy?" He wrote this while walking over the bridge early in the morning (6AM or so), and he loved the part of the day when the sun is coming up, and how fresh you feel even after being up all night.
  • Sally from South Orange, NjOn a PBS tribute to Paul Simon, Elmo and Grover sang this. I thought it was so sweet :-)
  • Jane from White River Jct, VtI think it reminds me to slow down with life and be in the moment more... we are always moving too fast, and this world is even more sped up today than it was in the late 60's early 70's with everything "instant" and computerized. So this song takes me back to a slower time and it never fails to make me smile.
  • Michelle from Boston, MaNot to be cliche, but Simon and Garfunkel are well known to be marijuana users. I have always believed that this song at least partly had to do with smoking marijuana.
  • Ashley from Moncton, CanadaI love this song. I think it may be the definition of mellow.
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