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Simon & Garfunkel

How ‘The Sound Of Silence’ Became A Surprise Hit – Smithsonian

It’s been 50 years since Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” topped Billboard magazine’s pop singles chart. But … if Columbia Records producer Tom Wilson hadn’t taken the initiative, without the singers’ knowledge, to dub a rock rhythm section over their folk rendition, the song never would have become a cultural touchstone.

The record company invited Garfunkel to hear the new version. “I never would have said, I hate it, you can’t use it, because we didn’t have that kind of artistic control in our contract,” he recalls. If they did, he says, “I would have made sure the drums and bass were in sync with the voices at the end of the fourth verse …but I was interested in having a hit record.”

“I still like to sing ‘The Sound of Silence,’” Simon tells Smithsonian, though the 50-year anniversary is “not an easy number to grasp.” But even after all these years, he says, “I rate it as one of the best songs I’ve written.”

Read more at Smithsonian Magazine.