Sounds of Silence

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Sounds of Silence
Studio album by
ReleasedJanuary 17, 1966 (1966-01-17)
  • April 5 – December 22, 1965
  • (except March 10, 1964 for "The Sound of Silence" backing track)
StudioColumbia 7th Ave, New York City
GenreFolk rock[1]
ProducerBob Johnston, Tom Wilson
Simon & Garfunkel chronology
Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.
Sounds of Silence
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Singles from Sounds of Silence
  1. "The Sound of Silence"
    Released: 12 September 1965
  2. "Homeward Bound"
    Released: 19 January 1966
  3. "I Am a Rock"
    Released: May 1966

Sounds of Silence is the second studio album by the American folk rock duo 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".[2] 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 under the direction of Columbia Records staff producer Tom Wilson on June 15, 1965.[3][4] 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 later released in the US on the following album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. 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.

Solo acoustic versions of "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 the poem "Richard Cory" by Edwin Arlington Robinson, "Somewhere They Can't Find Me" was essentially a rewrite of the previous album's "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.", "We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'" had appeared on the b-side of "The Sound of Silence" a few months before and "Anji" was a cover of an instrumental piece by guitarist Davey Graham whom Simon had met in England. Hence the only brand new Paul Simon composition on the album was "Blessed".

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
Review scores
Allmusic link
Record Mirror[5]

Cover artwork[edit]

The album cover photo features the duo on a trail looking back towards the camera. It was shot at Franklin Canyon Park in Los Angeles, California. The secondary school scarves they are wearing were from The Campion School, Hornchurch, UK. This school was attended by the boys of the Brentwood family, where Paul lodged during his time in the UK. The back of the LP has candid shots of the duo and quotes a few lyrics from each song.

There are three variations of the original LP's artwork. The first issue lists the duo's names' fully capitalized on one line, the album title fully capitalized on another, and no song titles. The second issue capitalizes only the first letter of each word, and features the tracklist. The third has the same front cover as the second, but the back cover airbrushes out the copies of Tiger Beat magazine Garfunkel is holding in the photos.

The original LP label mistakenly spells "Anji" as "Angie" and credits it to Bert Jansch, who had recorded it 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.

On older LP and CD issues of the album, "The Sound of Silence" is titled as "The Sounds of Silence" on both the cover and label, and "We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'" is titled "We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin'".

Track listing[edit]

Original release[edit]

All tracks are written by Paul Simon, except where noted

Side one
1."The Sound of Silence" March 10, 1964 (basic track)
June 15, 1965 (overdubs)
2."Leaves That Are Green" December 13, 19652:23
3."Blessed" December 21, 19653:16
4."Kathy's Song" December 21, 19653:21
5."Somewhere They Can't Find Me"Paul Simon/Davey GrahamApril 5, 19652:37
6."Anji"Davey GrahamDecember 13, 19652:17
Side two
1."Richard Cory"December 14, 19652:57
2."A Most Peculiar Man"December 22, 19652:34
3."April Come She Will"December 21, 19651:51
4."We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'"April 5, 19652:00
5."I Am a Rock"December 14, 19652:50
Bonus tracks (2001 CD reissue)
12."Blues Run the Game"Jackson C. FrankDecember 21, 19652:55
13."Barbriallen" (Demo, previously unreleased)TraditionalJuly 8, 19704:06
14."Rose of Aberdeen" (Demo, previously unreleased)TraditionalJuly 8, 19702:02
15."Roving Gambler" (Demo, previously unreleased)TraditionalJuly 8, 19703:03

Tracks 1–12 Produced by Bob Johnston Tracks 13–15 Produced by Paul Simon, Art Garfunkel & Roy Halee

Track listing (UK version)[edit]

All tracks are written by Paul Simon, except where noted

Side one
1."The Sound of Silence" March 10, 1964 (basic track)
June 15, 1965 (overdubs)
2."Leaves That Are Green" December 13, 19652:23
3."Blessed" December 21, 19653:16
4."Kathy's Song" December 21, 19653:21
5."Somewhere They Can't Find Me" April 5, 19652:37
6."Anji"Davey GrahamDecember 13, 19652:17
Side two
1."Homeward Bound"December 14, 19652:27
2."Richard Cory"December 14, 19652:57
3."A Most Peculiar Man"December 22, 19652:34
4."April Come She Will"December 21, 19651:51
5."We've Got a Groovey Thing Goin'"April 5, 19652:00
6."I Am a Rock"December 14, 19652:50


Sounds of Silence was recorded in April, June and December 1965 at CBS Studios in New York City, New York and Los Angeles, California.

"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. Neither Paul Simon nor Art Garfunkel were aware of the session or the plan to release an electric remix of the song until after the overdubs had been recorded.[3][4]


  • 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).
  • Them recorded "Richard Cory" as a single in 1966. Wings (with Denny Laine on lead vocals) covered "Richard Cory" on their 1976 live triple album Wings over America.
  • Nancy Wilson (of Heart) performs a cover of "Kathy's Song" on her 1999 album Live from McCabe's Guitar Shop.
  • Eva Cassidy covered "Kathy's Song" on her 2000 CD Time After Time, released four years after her death.
  • "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. (The melody line of the chorus in "We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin'" shows a similarity to a riff heard within the Bert Jansch version of Graham's piece, as well as the Sounds of Silence version; the line is similar to the theme in "Work Song" by Nat Adderley.)
  • 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.
  • 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.


Chart (1966) Peak
UK Albums Chart 13
US Album Charts 21
Chart (1970) Peak
Spanish Albums Chart[7] 2

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ DeBolt, Abbe Allen (2011). Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 604. ISBN 978-0313329449.
  2. ^ Mastropolo, Frank (March 10, 2015). "51 Years Ago: Simon & Garfunkel Record Their First Classic, 'The Sounds of Silence'". Ultimate Classic Rock.
  3. ^ a b Simons, David (2004). Studio Stories – How the Great New York Records Were Made. San Francisco: Backbeat Books. Cf. pp.94–97.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ Jones, Peter; Jopling, Norman (30 April 1966). "Simon ANd Garfunkel: Sounds Of Silence" (PDF). Record Mirror. No. 268. p. 8. Archived from the original (PDF) on 1 April 2022. Retrieved 22 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Joe Mack – Biography & History – AllMusic". AllMusic.
  7. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.

External links[edit]