The weeks of published and whispered rumor turned into facts Tuesday, with the confirmation that legendary American singer/songwriter Paul Simon will be returning to Israel for a concert at Ramat Gan Stadium on July 21. A month after fellow 1960s icon Bob Dylan graces the stage on June 20, Simon will arrive as part of a world tour promoting his latest album, So Beautiful or So What, considered by many critics to be one of his best in the last two decades. The album went to the top of the Billboard album chart upon its release, revitalizing a career that has been dormant in recent years.Simon launched his current tour – a crowd pleasing mix of Simon and Garfunkel classics like “The Sound of Silence,” some well-place covers like The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun,” a sampling of his vast catalogue of solo work, and ample material from the new album – last month, and will continue on to Europe in June and July including high profile appearances at the Glastonbury and iTunes festivals in England.Simon, who will turn 70 in October, has appeared in Israel twice before – in 1978 on his own and in 1983 with his erstwhile partner Art Garfunkel. The Jewish Simon has rarely sung or spoke of his heritage, but in the title song on his 1983 album Heart and Bone, he referred to himself and his then wife, the half-Jewish actress/author Carrie Fisher as “one and a half wandering Jews.”It’s no small irony that Simon will be appearing on the same stage – a month apart – as Dylan. Despite writing and recording some of the most literate, complex songs of the rock era, Simon was always overshadowed by Dylan’s prowess, a feeling Simon still remembers.“I usually come in second (to Dylan), and I don’t like coming in second,” he told Rolling Stone magazine last month. “‘The Sound of Silence’ wouldn’t have been written if it weren’t for Dylan. But I left that feeling around The Graduate and “Mrs Robinson.” They weren’t folky any more.”Simon and Garfunkel’s music, however, was as much a soundtrack to the turbulent ’60s as Dylan’s, and following the duo’s split in 1970, Simon’s solo career – incorporating African, Brazilian and even indie rock influences – has scaled peaks, including his self-titled debut in 1972, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon in 1974 and Graceland in 1986. Simon has won 13 Grammys, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, and was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007.Tickets for the show go on sale on May 30 via the Leann Ticket Agency website – www.leaan.co.il and will also be sold beginning the next day at the agency’s office on Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.