The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)

17 JANUARY 1966


Simon and Garfunkel’s breakthrough album ‘The Sounds of Silence’ was released in the USA on this date. The UK version featured such tracks as ‘Kathy’s Song, ‘Homeward Bound’ and ‘I am a Rock’.

The title track had already been released on their 1964 album, which had flopped and led to the break-up of the duo in early 1965. However, the song continued to receive airplay and grew in popularity, and was released as a remixed single in October 1965 without Simon or Garfunkel’s knowledge. It climbed the charts, leading to the reformation of the duo and the recording of the new album. The single ‘The Sound of Silence’ (not 'Sounds') hit #1 in the US at the beginning of 1966 and has become an undisputed classic.

The song has since been used in numerous movie soundtracks since then, mostly famously 'The Graduate' in 1968.

B-side: 'We've Got a Groovy Thing Goin''
Recorded: 10 March 1964, Columbia Studios, New York City; 15 June 1965
Released: Original recording: October 1964; Overdubbed version: 13 September 1965
Highest chart positions: #9 (UK), #1 (US) (overdubbed version) 
Length: 3:05
Label: Columbia
Writer: Paul Simon
Producer: Tom Wilson

The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)

'Hello darkness, my old friend
I've come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence'