ART GARFUNKEL has spoken of his often fractious relationship with Paul Simon, his musical partner - describing him as "a monster" he helped create - and of his terror at the prospect of never being able to sing again.
In an interview with Britain's Sunday Telegraph, Garfunkel - who together with Simon was responsible for some of the best known songs in pop music - says he regrets to this day that their partnership ended in 1970 and that he cannot understand why Simon decided to go off on his own.
Garfunkel, who is most widely remembered for his vocal performance on Bridge Over Troubled Water, says the more diminutive Simon suffers from a "Napoleon" complex and that as a schoolboy he befriended the star because he felt sorry for his short stature.
"And that compensatory gesture has created a monster," said Garfunkel. Garfunkel says he still cannot understand why Simon - who wrote all the pair's songs, including The Boxer, Mrs Robinson and Homeward Bound - felt the need to become a solo artist just as they reached the height of their popularity.
He said: "It was very strange. Not my choice. Nothing I would have done. I want to open up about this. I don't want to say any anti-Paul Simon things, and I love that the world still loves Simon & Garfunkel, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. Crazy.
"What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. A rest was very much called for. The jokes had run dry. But a rest of a year was all I needed."
The singer said one of his fears was a repeat of the vocal cord paralysis from which he suffered temporarily in 2010.
"I have now almost fully recovered - the loud, high notes haven't quite come back, so I need the mic for volume at the end of Bridge Over Troubled Water," he said. "I rested it, then teased it back by singing in empty theatres. I would sing, and my knees would buckle and I would whimper in frustration."
He said he would not know what to do if he could never sing professionally again, adding: "I didn't know how I was going to carry on. Was I going to be some guy named Walter who doesn't sing? Did I have to get a regular job instead? I've been singing since I was five. It's my identity. I can get away with murder when I sing."
Despite all his years as a performer, Garfunkel admits he still suffers nerves at the prospect of going on stage, saying: "You feel vulnerable. Exposed. You might forget a lyric. It's brave work, this work."
He grew up in the New York borough of Queens, a few blocks away from Simon, and the pair first began singing together at the age of 13 by impersonating the harmonies of The Everly Brothers.
Now, he sometimes sings with his son, Art junior (24), and the pair may perform together during the forthcoming British tour.
For all their rancour, Garfunkel still holds out the hope of another, longer, reunion with Simon, also 73, with whom he last reunited in 2010.
"Will I do another tour with Paul? Well, I think that's quite doable," he said.
"When we get together, with his guitar, it's a delight to both of our ears. A little bubble comes over us and it seems effortless. We blend. So as far as this half is concerned, I would say why not, while we're still alive."
© Sunday Telegraph