Simon & Garfunkel “The Sound of Silence.” What is there to say about this iconic work of musical genius? Lots. There’s a complicated history behind this simple but haunting song.
We’re going to share a video of two young men singing this masterpiece a capella, but first, let’s go into a little bit of history about this epic piece of music.
In the Beginning
Written by Paul Simon in 1963 and 1964, “The Sound of Silence” was on Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel’s debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. After much initial excitement, the album was released on October 19, 1964.
And it flopped. Miserably. It was an utter commercial failure. But…
What happened next shocked a lot of people, including Simon and Garfunkel.
“The Sound of Silence” Was a Flop, Then a Surprise Hit
Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon’s debut album was such a failure that the due disbanded. Paul Simon returned to England, and Art Garfunkel went back to studying at Columbia University.
Then, in 1965, something crazy happened. The song began to get lots of airplay throughout Florida and in Boston, Massachusetts. Since it was getting some positive attention, the song’s producer, Tom Wilson, remixed the track, including overdubbing drums and electrical instruments.
And guess what? No one bothered to inform Simon and Garfunkel that their song had been remixed until after the single was released in September of 1965. “The Sound of Silence” became a surprise hit.
Simon & Garfunkel’s 2nd Album
By January 1, 1966, “The Sound of Silence” was number one on the Billboard Hot 100.
The Success of “The Sound of Silence”
Before long, the song was a top-ten hit in countries all over the world, including Japan, Australia, West Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands.
In the 20th century, BMI named “The Sound of Silence” the 18th most-performed song of that era.
When Rolling Stone released their 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, they ranked “The Sound of Silence” at number 157.
Legacy and Cultural Significance
In 2012, “The Sound of Silence” was added to the Library of Congress National Recording Registry because it was deemed “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important.” The rest of the album was included.
“The Sound of Silence” has been used in multiple films, beginning with The Graduate, and including Kingpin, Old School, Watchmen, Bobby, and Trolls. In a German TV movie titled Ein Drilling Kommt Selten Allein, the grandparents sang “The Sound of Silence” to calm crying triplets.
In 2017, the song was used as part of the soundtrack of a documentary series called The Vietnam War.
Peter Hollens and Tim Foust Sing Simon & Garfunkel “The Sound of Silence” A Capella
That brings us to our reason for writing this article: the genius of Peter Hollens and Tim Foust singing “The Sound of Silence a capella. Once you have this version in your head, you may be ruined and never go back to the original. Watch the video below.