Sounds of Silence is the second studio album by 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". 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. 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.
Simon & Garfunkel was an American folk rock duo consisting of the singer-songwriter Paul Simon and the singer Art Garfunkel. They were one of the best-selling music groups of the 1960s, and their biggest hits, including the electric remix of "The Sound of Silence" (1965), "Mrs. Robinson" (1968), "The Boxer" (1969), and "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1970), reached number one on singles charts worldwide.
Simon and Garfunkel met in elementary school in Queens, New York, in 1953, where they learned to harmonize and began writing songs. As teenagers, under the name Tom & Jerry, they had minor success with "Hey Schoolgirl" (1957), a song imitating their idols, the Everly Brothers. In 1963, aware of a growing public interest in folk music, they regrouped and were signed to Columbia Records as Simon & Garfunkel. Their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., sold poorly; Simon returned to a solo career, this time in England. In June 1965, a new version of "The Sound of Silence" an acoustic song on the duo’s debut album, was overdubbed with electric guitar and drums and became a US AM radio hit, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100. The duo reunited to release a second studio album, Sounds of Silence, and tour colleges nationwide. On their third release, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), they assumed more creative control. Their music was featured in the 1967 film The Graduate, giving them further exposure. Their next album Bookends (1968) topped the Billboard 200 chart and included the number-one single "Mrs. Robinson" from the film.
Simon and Garfunkel had a troubled relationship, leading to artistic disagreements and their breakup in 1970. Their final studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water, was released that January, becoming one of the world's best-selling albums. After their breakup, Simon released a number of acclaimed albums, including 1986's Graceland. Garfunkel released solo hits such as "All I Know" and briefly pursued an acting career, with leading roles in the Mike Nichols films Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge and in Nicolas Roeg's 1980 Bad Timing. The duo have reunited several times; their 1981 concert in Central Park may have attracted more than 500,000 people, one of the largest concert attendances in history.
Simon & Garfunkel won 7 Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1990. Richie Unterberger described them as "the most successful folk-rock duo of the 1960s" and one of the most popular artists from the decade. They are among the best-selling music artists, having sold more than 100 million records. They were ranked 40th on Rolling Stone's 2010 list of the Greatest Artists of All Time and third on its list of the greatest duos.
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