An authorised biography, Paul Simon: The Life, details a particularly bitter backstage clash in 1993 when the duo had reunited for a lucrative comeback tour.
Decades of pent-up resentment led to fury after a reviewer claimed Garfunkel was “just one of a large supporting cast of Mr Simon’s collaborators”.
Paul Simon’s manager Joseph Rascoff had to stand between the men’s two dressing rooms to ensure violence did not break out during a New York show.
He said: “I genuinely believed that if there had been a knife on the table one of them would have used it.
“They never came to blows but there was shoving, and I had to step between them.”
The book claims that resentment grew on both sides of the partnership back from their early days in the 1950s when they first performed as a group called Tom & Jerry.
Art Garfunkel was said to be “crushed” that he was not included in recordings of new songs and felt in danger of being “tossed aside”.
Meanwhile Paul Simon was “sensitive” about his 5ft 3in height and told how he remembered comments from Art 60 years ago in which he said: “I’ll always be taller than you”.
The explosive book by Robert Hilburn also details Paul Simon’s depressive tendencies despite his meteoric success.
Questioned over what he saw as “bad news”, Simon said: “Being short. Not having a voice that you want. Not looking the way you want to look. Having a bad relationship.”
Manager Mort Lewis said: “They both envied the other’s place in the team.
“Paul often thought the audience saw Artie as the star because he was the featured singer, and some people probably thought Artie even wrote the songs. But Artie knew Paul wrote the songs and thus controlled the future of the pair.”
The pair split in 1970 but later teamed up in 1981, 1993 and last played together in 2010.