The Sound of Silence

Simon & Garfunkel

About The Sound of Silence

"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 several months in 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 on October 19, 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the group disbanding, with Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In 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 instruments and drums. 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, 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 2012 along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album. 


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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 street lamp
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 dared
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

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Simon & Garfunkel

Simon & Garfunkel were an American music duo consisting of singer-songwriters Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They formed the group Tom & Jerry in 1957 and had their first success with the minor hit "Hey, Schoolgirl". As Simon & Garfunkel, the duo rose to fame in 1965, largely on the strength of the hit single "The Sound of Silence". Their music was featured in the landmark film The Graduate (1967), propelling them further into the public consciousness. more »

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Written by: Paul Simon

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

9 facts about this song

Origination and Initial Release
"The Sound of Silence" was originally composed by the American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel, comprising Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. - It was initially titled "The Sounds of Silence" and was included in their debut album "Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M." which was released in 1964.
Behind the Lyrics
Paul Simon wrote the song when he was only 21 years old. Simon has stated in interviews that he wrote the song in his bathroom, where he turned off the lights to better focus on the song. - The song was inspired by the John F. Kennedy assassination and the overall tumultuous era of the '60s.
Poor Initial Reception
The song did not receive any significant recognition upon its first release. In fact, the album including the song sold less than 2000 copies at first.
Reworking and Re-release
Producer Tom Wilson decided to rework the song by overdubbing electric instruments and drums. This was done without Simon & Garfunkel's initial knowledge or input. - The reworked version was re-released as a single in 1965 and went on to become a huge hit, reaching number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Legacy and Influence
"The Sound of Silence" is considered one of Simon & Garfunkel's signature songs. It's been covered by numerous artists, most notably by heavy metal band Disturbed in 2015, whose version earned a Grammy nomination. - The song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically important" in 2012.
Cinematic Appearances
The song gained additional fame when it was included in the soundtrack of the iconic movie "The Graduate" in 1967. - It also made several appearances in other TV shows and movies, such as "Watchmen" and "Trolls".
Award Recognition
"The Sound of Silence" received the Grammy Hall of Fame Award in 2004, further cementing its significance in the music history.
International Success
The song also found international success, not just in the U.S., but also in countries such as Australia and the Netherlands, where it topped the charts.
Impact on Simon & Garfunkel’s Career
The popularity of "The Sound of Silence" led to Simon & Garfunkel reuniting after initial disbanding and going on to release more successful albums, including "Sounds of Silence" and "Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme".

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    The Sound of Silence

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    Top Hot 100 Songs 1966

    Billboard #1



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