Published on June 17, 2016
The Sound of Silence“, originally “The Sounds of Silence“, is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel. The song was written by Paul Simon over the period of several months between 1963 and 1964. A studio audition led to the duo signing a record deal with Columbia Records, and the song was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for inclusion on their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M..
Released in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Paul Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In spring 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, to remix the track, overdubbing electric instrumentation with the same musicians who backed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the song’s remix until after its release. The single was released in September 1965.
The song 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 song was a top-ten hit in multiple countries worldwide, among them Australia, Austria, West Germany, Ireland, 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 2013 along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album.
Originally titled “The Sounds of Silence” on Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., as well as on the single release and Sounds of Silence album, the song was re-titled for later compilations beginning with Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.