Sounds of Silence

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This article is about the album by Simon and Garfunkel. For other uses, see Sounds of Silence (disambiguation).
Sounds of Silence
Studio album by Simon & Garfunkel
Released January 17, 1966
Recorded March 1964
April 1965
June 1965
December 1965
Genre Folk rock
Length 29:09
Label Columbia
Simon & Garfunkel chronology
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
(1964)
Sounds of Silence
(1966)
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
(1966)
Singles from Sounds of Silence
  1. "The Sound of Silence"
    Released: September 1965
  2. "I Am a Rock"
    Released: May 1966

Sounds of Silence is the second album by Simon & Garfunkel, released on January 17, 1966. The album's title is a slight modification of the title of the duo's first major hit, "The Sound of Silence", which originally was released as "The Sounds of Silence". The song had earlier been released in an acoustic version on the album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., and later on the soundtrack to the movie The Graduate. Without the knowledge of Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel, electric guitars, bass and drums were overdubbed by Columbia Records staff producer Tom Wilson on June 15, 1965.[1][2] This new version was released as a single in September 1965, and opens the album.

"Homeward Bound" was released on the album in the UK, placed at the beginning of Side 2 before "Richard Cory". It was also released as part of the box set Simon & Garfunkel Collected Works, on both LP and CD. Many of the songs in the album had been written by Paul Simon while he lived in London during 1965.

"I Am a Rock", "Leaves That Are Green", "April Come She Will", "A Most Peculiar Man", and "Kathy's Song" had appeared on The Paul Simon Songbook, released in August 1965 in England as had another version of the title track. "Richard Cory" was based on a poem by Edwin Arlington Robinson, "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" was essentially a rewrite of the previous album's "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." and "Anji" was an instrumental piece that Simon had picked up, presumably in London, from guitarist Davey Graham. Hence the only brand new Paul Simon compositions on the album were "Blessed" and "We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'".

The album is also included in its entirety as part of the Simon & Garfunkel box sets Collected Works and The Columbia Studio Recordings (1964–1970). On March 22, 2013, it was announced that the album will be preserved by the Library of Congress in the National Recording Registry, calling it "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."

Professional ratings
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Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Paul Simon, except where noted.

Side one[edit]

  1. "The Sound of Silence" – 3:08
    Recorded: March 10, 1964 and June 15, 1965
  2. "Leaves That Are Green" – 2:23
    Recorded: December 13, 1965
  3. "Blessed" – 3:16
    Recorded: December 21, 1965
  4. "Kathy's Song" – 3:21
    Recorded: December 21, 1965
  5. "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" – 2:37
    Recorded: April 5, 1965
  6. "Anji" (Davey Graham) – 2:17
    Recorded: December 13, 1965

Side two[edit]

  1. "Richard Cory" – 2:57
    Recorded: December 14, 1965
  2. "A Most Peculiar Man" – 2:34
    Recorded: December 22, 1965
  3. "April Come She Will" – 1:51
    Recorded: December 21, 1965
  4. "We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'" – 2:00
    Recorded: April 5, 1965
  5. "I Am a Rock" – 2:50
    Recorded: December 14, 1965

Bonus tracks (2001 CD reissue)[edit]

  1. "Blues Run the Game" (Jackson C. Frank) – 2:55
    Recorded: December 21, 1965
  2. "Barbriallen" (Traditional) – 4:06
    Recorded: July 8, 1970
  3. "Rose of Aberdeen" (Traditional) – 2:02
    Recorded: July 8, 1970
  4. "Roving Gambler" (Traditional) – 3:03
    Recorded: July 8, 1970

Notes[edit]

  • The English singer-songwriter Billy Bragg lifted the opening lines of "Leaves That Are Green" ("I was 21 years when I wrote this song/I'm 22 now, but I won't be for long") for his song "A New England", which appeared on Bragg's 1983 EP Life's a Riot with Spy Vs Spy. These same lyrics can be found in the Kirsty MacColl version of this song. Released as a cover in 1984, the song was MacColl's biggest solo hit—reaching #7 in the UK and #8 in Ireland.
  • The Tremeloes' recording of "Blessed" became their 1966 "solo debut" single (without Brian Poole).
  • "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" is essentially a reworking of the title track of the duo's first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. It was recorded along with "We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'" a few months before producer Tom Wilson dubbed electric instruments on "Sounds of Silence". The recurring descending bass line in the track as well as its introductory guitar riff were borrowed from Davey Graham's acoustic guitar piece "Anji", a cover of which follows on the album.
  • Two songs on the album deal with suicide: "Richard Cory" and "A Most Peculiar Man".
  • The song "Richard Cory" was based on a poem with the same title by Edwin Arlington Robinson. The chorus, however, is entirely of Simon's composition.
  • Them (with Van Morrison) recorded "Richard Cory" as a single in 1966. Wings (band) covered "Richard Cory" on their 1976 live triple album Wings over America.
  • The song "April Come She Will" bears structural resemblance to a traditional English rhyme, "Cuckoo, cuckoo, what do you do?", a phenology of the Common Cuckoo from April through September.
  • British Tenor & Guitar duo Greg Tassell & Christopher Bundhun have recorded (and regularly perform) Bundhun's transcription of "April Come She Will".
  • Nancy Wilson (of Heart) performs a cover of "Kathy's Song" on her 1999 album Live at McCabe's Guitar Shop.


Cover[edit]

  • The album cover photo was shot at Franklin Canyon Park in Los Angeles, California.
  • There are three cover variations of the LP:
    • Original issue: SIMON & GARFUNKEL on one line; SOUNDS OF SILENCE on another, all in capital letters, no song titles on the front.
    • Second issue: Enlarged title letters, with only the first letter of the words "Sounds" and "Silence" in the album title capitalized. The first letters in "Simon" and "Garfunkel" are capitalized, but the rest are in lower-case. Song titles also included on the front.
    • Third issue: Same front cover as the second, the back cover has the copy of Tiger Beat magazine in Garfunkel's hand airbrushed out.
  • The original LP label mistakenly spells "Anji" as "Angie" and credits it to Bert Jansch, who had recorded the tune for his 1965 debut album. The back cover of the original LP sleeve properly credits Davey Graham as composer but retains the "Angie" misspelling. Both errors were corrected for subsequent reissues.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
UK Albums Chart 13
US Album Charts 21
Chart (1970) Peak
position
Spanish Albums Chart[3] 2

Personnel[edit]

Sounds of Silence was recorded in December 1965 at CBS studios in Nashville, Tennessee, and Los Angeles, California. The album was produced by Bob Johnston.


"The Sound of Silence" (electric overdubs) personnel:

"The Sound of Silence" overdubs were recorded at Columbia's "Studio A" at 799 Seventh Avenue near 52nd Street by Columbia Records staff producer Tom Wilson on June 15, 1965.[1][4]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Simons, David (2004). Studio Stories – How the Great New York Records Were Made. San Francisco: Backbeat Books.  Cf. pp.94–97.
  2. ^ Charlesworth, Chris, The Complete Guide to the Music of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel, Omnibus Press 1996. Cf. especially pp.17–18 on Sound of Silence.
  3. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  4. ^ Charlesworth, Chris, The Complete Guide to the Music of Paul Simon and Simon & Garfunkel, Omnibus Press 1996. Cf. especially pp.17–18 on Sound of Silence.

External links[edit]