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New version of Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Sounds of Silence'

Simon & Garfunkel

The Sounds Of Silence

Released: September 12th, 1965

Tracks Simon & Garfunkel

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1969.

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September 13th, 1965 - American folk rock duo, Simon & Garfunkel released a new, electrified version of their 1964 release, "The Sounds of Silence". The song, written by Paul Simon, had been released previously on Simon & Garfunkel's 1964 album, Wednesday Morning 3AM, and Paul Simon's debut solo album from August 1965, The Paul Simon Songbook.

Following the commercial failure of previous versions of the song and inspired by the Byrds' track "Turn, Turn Turn", producer Tom Wilson felt that the song would be more successful as a folk rock single. Wilson had recently parted ways with Bob Dylan following a string of successful albums -- The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin', Another Side of Bob Dylan and Bringing It All Back Home -- culminating in the single "Like A Rolling Stone". So for the new electrified version of "The Sounds of Silence", Wilson invited the same musicians who backed Dylan on "Like A Rolling Stone" (excluding Al Kooper) to perform overdubs on the track.

Paul Simon later described his reaction to the success of the single:

"I had come back to New York, and I was staying in my old room at my parents' house. Artie was living at his parents' house, too. I remember Artie and I were sitting there in my car one night, parked on a street in Queens, and the announcer [on the radio] said, "Number one, Simon & Garfunkel." And Artie said to me, "That Simon & Garfunkel, they must be having a great time." Because there we were on a street corner [in my car in] Queens, smoking a joint. We didn't know what to do with ourselves."

New version of Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Sounds of Silence'

Listen below to the version of "The Sounds of Silence" from Wednesday Morning, 3AM.

Here is Paul Simon's solo version, released only a month earlier in August 1965 on The Paul Simon Songbook.

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