In 1972 his first single hit in the UK was Mother And Child Reunion from his album Paul Simon. The song was inspired by the death of a dog and a Chinese restaurant menu. Figure that one out. The follow up hit in the same year was Me And Julio Down By The Schoolyard. The song is about two boys who have broken the law or have done something wrong.
Here is Paul Simon in 1970 TV interview with Dick Cavett.