The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence,” originally “The Sounds of Silence,” is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. It is said that the song was written by Paul Simon over several months in 1963 and 1964. The duo’s studio audition of the song led to a record deal with Columbia Records, and the original acoustic version was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. Released on October 19, 1964,[2] the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo disbanding; Simon returned to England, and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University.

In 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston and throughout Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, to remix the track, overdubbing electric instruments and drums. This remixed version was released as a single in September 1965. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the song’s remix until after its release. The remix hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending January 1, 1966, leading the duo to reunite and hastily record their second album, which Columbia titled Sounds of Silence in an attempt to capitalize on the song’s success. The remixed single version of the song was included on this follow-up album. Later, it was featured in the 1967 film The Graduate and was included on the film’s soundtrack album. It was additionally released on the Mrs. Robinson EP in 1968, along with three other songs from the film: “Mrs. Robinson,” “April Come She Will” and “Scarborough Fair/Canticle.”

“The Sound of Silence” was a top-ten hit in multiple countries worldwide, among them Australia, Austria, West Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. Generally considered a classic folk rock song, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important” in 2012, along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album. Since its release, the song was included in later compilations, beginning with the 1972 compilation album Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.[3]

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