Art Garfunkel says he “created a monster” after becoming friends with Paul Simon because he felt sorry for him.
But even though they’ve spent 45 years apart, he’s still living in hope of a reunion with the colleague who helped make his name.
The duo went their separate ways after the launch of 1970 album Bridge Over Troubled Water, the biggest-selling release of its time.
Garfunkel tells The Telegraph the pair became friends at school because he felt sorry for the diminutive Simon. “That compensation gesture has created a monster,” he says.
Talking about the split he adds: “It was very strange. I don’t want to say any anti Paul Simon things, but it seems very perverse to not enjoy the glory and walk away from it instead. What I would have done is take a rest from Paul, because he was getting on my nerves. The jokes had run dry.
“A rest of a year was all I needed. I said: ‘I’m not married yet. I want to jump on a motorbike and tour ‘round Europe, chasing ladies.’
“How can you walk away from this lucky place on top of the world, Paul? What’s going on with you, you idiot? How could you let that go, jerk?”
And Garfunkel recalls how George Harrison compared Beatles bandmate Paul McCartney to Simon. “George came up to me at a party and said, ‘My Paul is to me what your Paul is to you.’ He meant that psychologically they had the same effect on us. The Pauls sidelined us.
“I think George felt suppressed by Paul and I think that’s what he saw with me and my Paul. Here’s the truth: McCartney was a hell of a music man who gave the band its energy – but he also ran away with a lot of the glory.”
The duo have performed together on a number of occasions since their split, most recently in 2010. And despite his strength of emotion, Garfunkel still believes a fully-fledged reunion could work.
“That’s quite doable,” he insists. “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. As far as this half is concerned, I would say, ‘Why not, while we’re still alive?’
“But I’ve been in that same place for decades. This is where I was in 1971.”
Garfunkel tours the UK and Ireland in September:
Sep 14: Belfast Waterfront Hall
Sep 16: Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
Sep 17: Cardiff St David’s Hall
Sep 19: Oxford New Theatre
Sep 21: London Royal Albert Hall
Sep 23: Gateshead Sage
Sep 24: Edinburgh Usher Hall