Good Vibrations

“Good Vibrations” is a song composed and produced by Brian Wilson with words by Mike Love for the Beach Boys. Released as a single in October 1966, it was an immediate critical and commercial hit, topping record charts in several countries including the US and UK. Characterized by its complex soundscapes, episodic structure, and subversions of pop music formula, it was the most costly single ever recorded at the time of its release. “Good Vibrations” later became widely acclaimed as one of the greatest masterpieces of rock music.[10][11]

Initiated during the sessions for the album Pet Sounds (1966), it was not taken from or issued as a lead single for an album, but rather as a stand-alone single, with the Pet Sounds instrumental “Let’s Go Away for Awhile” as a B-side. It was considered for the Smile project, but instead appeared on the album Smiley Smile (1967). Most of the song was developed as it was recorded. Its title derived from Wilson’s fascination with cosmic vibrations, after his mother once told him as a child that dogs sometimes bark at people in response to their “bad vibrations”. He used the concept to suggest extrasensory perception, while Love’s lyrics were inspired by the Flower Power movement that was then burgeoning in Southern California.

The making of “Good Vibrations” was unprecedented for any kind of recording, with a total production cost estimated between $50,000 and $75,000 (equivalent to $360,000 and $550,000 in 2015). Building upon the multi-layered approach he had formulated with Pet Sounds, Wilson recorded the song in different sections at four Hollywood studios from February to September 1966, resulting in a cut-up mosaic of several musical episodes marked by disjunctive key and modal shifts. Band publicist Derek Taylor dubbed the unusual work a “pocket symphony”. It contained previously untried mixes of instruments, including jaw harp and Electro-Theremin, and was the first pop hit to have a cello playing juddering rhythms.

For “Good Vibrations”, Wilson is credited with further developing the use of the recording studio as an instrument. The single revolutionized rock music from live concert performances to studio productions which could only exist on record, heralding a wave of pop experimentation and the onset of psychedelic and progressive rock. It is also frequently cited for its use of theremin, which led to the instrument’s revival and to an increased interest in analog synthesizers. Its success earned the Beach Boys a Grammy nomination for Best Vocal Group performance in 1966; the song was eventually inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994.[12] It has featured highly in many charts, being voted number one in the Mojo “Top 100 Records of All Time” chart in 1997[12] and number six on Rolling Stone’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.[13] The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included “Good Vibrations” in its list of the “500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll”.[14]

Winchester Cathedral (song)

“Winchester Cathedral” is a song released in late 1966 by Fontana Records, whereupon it shot to the #1 spot in Canada on the RPM 100 national singles charts[1] and shortly thereafter in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It was released by The New Vaudeville Band, a British novelty group established by the song’s composer, Geoff Stephens. Stephens was a big fan of tunes from the British music hall era (or what Americans would call “vaudeville”), so he wrote “Winchester Cathedral” in that vein, complete with a Rudy Vallée soundalike[2] (John Carter) singing through his hands to imitate a megaphone sound.[3] Although the song was recorded entirely by session musicians, when it became an international hit, an actual band had to be assembled, with Fontana trying unsuccessfully to recruit the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band.[4] The recording is one of the few charting songs to feature a bassoon. [5] The band toured extensively under the tutelage of Peter Grant, who later went on to manage The Yardbirds and Led Zeppelin.[3]

The tune went to No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart.[6] It went all the way to the top in the U.S., however, displacing “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by the Supremes on December 3, 1966. After a one-week run at No. 1, “Winchester Cathedral” was knocked off the summit by the Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations”, only to rebound to the top spot the following week. After two additional weeks, it was knocked off the top for good by “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees.

“Winchester Cathedral” topped the Billboard Easy Listening chart for four weeks.[7] Cover records by Dana Rollin and The New Happiness reached no higher than No. 70. The Shadows recorded an instrumental version of this song on their album, Jigsaw. Singer Rudy Vallée, whose voice and style the original recording imitated, did his own cover of the song in 1967 when he was in his late 60s. (It did not chart.) The Four Freshmen recorded a cover of the song on their 1968 album In a Class by Themselves. Frank Sinatra also recorded a version of the song for his 1966 album That’s Life.

Global sales of the single were over three million, with the RIAA certification of gold disc status.[8]

The song won the 1967 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary (R&R) Recording,[9] despite not being a rock and roll song. An initial long-playing album including the song was issued in late 1966 by Fontana Records, also titled Winchester Cathedral. Stephens received the 1966 Ivor Novello award for “Best Song Musically and Lyrically”.[10]

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the song’s release, a new version by Geoff Stephens was to be[needs update] released on CD by Signum Classics on March 11, 2016, sung by the choristers of Winchester Cathedral. The premier performance of this version was to take place during a Gala Concert in Winchester Cathedral on March 12 to help raise funds for the Cathedral’s Appeal.

You Keep Me Hangin’ On

“You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is a 1966 song written and composed by Holland–Dozier–Holland. It first became a popular Billboard Hot 100 number one hit for the American Motown group The Supremes in late 1966. The rock band Vanilla Fudge covered the song a year later and had a Top ten hit with their version. British pop singer Kim Wilde covered “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” in 1986, bumping it back to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1987. The single reached number one by two different musical acts in America. In the first 32 years of the Billboard Hot 100 rock era, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” became one of only six songs to achieve this feat.[1] In 1996, Country music singer Reba McEntire’s version reached number 2 on the US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

Over the years, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” has been covered by various artists including a charting version by Wilson Pickett, Rod Stewart, Colourbox and the Box Tops.

Poor Side of Town

“Poor Side of Town” is a song by Johnny Rivers that reached No.1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 and on the RPM Canadian Chart in November 1966.

It was a very important record for Johnny Rivers and represented a change from the musical style (characterized by a Go Go sound), that provided him with his early hits and acclaim. With “Poor Side of Town”, Rivers moved into the pop-soul style.

The melody is a soulful version of California-based pop, with some strong folk elements as well. Marty Paich provided the song’s string arrangement.

There are two versions of the song. The single edit version fades out earlier, in order to avoid repetition, due to its length, following the repeated lyric line: “Oh with you by my side”. The longer version goes on, finishing up the verse, and following the repeated guitar riff, repeats the sung introduction of the scatting, before the song fades out.

Last Train to Clarksville

“Last Train to Clarksville” was the debut single by The Monkees. It was released August 16, 1966 and later included on the group’s 1966 self-titled album, which was released on October 10, 1966.[1] The song, written by Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart was recorded at RCA Victor Studio B in Hollywood on July 25, 1966[1] and was already on the Boss Hit Bounds on 17 August 1966.[2] The song topped the Billboard Hot 100 on November 5, 1966.[3] Lead vocals were performed by The Monkees’ drummer Micky Dolenz.[4] Clarksville was featured in seven episodes of the Monkees TV show; the most for any Monkees song.

96 Tears

“96 Tears” is a song recorded by the American garage rock band, Question Mark & the Mysterians (also known as “? and the Mysterians”), in 1966 (see 1966 in music). In October of that year, it was number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S.[5] and on the RPM 100 in Canada.[6] Billboard ranked the record as the number five song for the year 1966.[7] It is ranked number 213 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. On November 11, 1966 the single was certified as gold by the RIAA.[8]

The song was written by Question Mark (Rudy Martinez) in 1962 in his manager’s living room, under the name “Too Many Teardrops” and then “69 Tears”. Upon changing the name, in fear of loss of radio play, it was recorded in Bay City, Michigan.[9] At first, Question Mark had to insist that “96 Tears” be the A-side over “Midnight Hour”. Once the issue was settled, the band recorded the single for the small Pa-Go-Go label, owned by Lilly Gonzalez. She backed the band financially, and allowed access to her personal studio in her basement. When it began doing well locally, the band took a recording to Bob Dell, the radio director in Flint, Michigan. The song became the most requested, and wider radio play spread into Canada where it was picked up by Cameo Records for national distribution.[10][11]

Known for its signature organ licks and bare-bones lyrics, “96 Tears” is recognized as one of the first garage band hits, and has even been given credit for starting the punk rock movement.[12]

The song appeared on the band’s album, 96 Tears. The follow-up song, “I Need Somebody”, peaked at number 22 later that year, but no other U.S. Top 40 singles followed.[13]

Reach Out I’ll Be There

“Reach Out I’ll Be There” (also formatted as “Reach Out (I’ll Be There)”) is a 1966 song recorded by the Four Tops for the Motown label. Written and produced by Motown’s main production team Holland–Dozier–Holland,[3] the song is one of the most well-known Motown tunes of the 1960s and is today considered The Tops’ signature song. It was the number one song on the Rhythm & Blues charts for two weeks,[4] and on the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, from October 15–22, 1966. It replaced “Cherish” by The Association, and was itself replaced by “96 Tears” by Question Mark & the Mysterians. Billboard ranked the record as the no. 4 song for 1966.[5]

Rolling Stone later ranked this version #206 on their list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”. This version is also currently ranked as the 56th best song of all time, as well as the #4 song of 1966, in an aggregation of critics’ lists at Acclaimed Music.[6][7]

The track also reached no. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, becoming Motown’s second UK chart-topper after The Supremes hit no. 1 with “Baby Love” in late 1964.[8] It had replaced Jim Reeves’ “Distant Drums” at number one in October 1966 and stayed there for three weeks before being replaced by The Beach Boys’ “Good Vibrations” in November.[9]

Cherish (The Association song)

“Cherish” is a pop song written by Terry Kirkman and recorded by The Association.[1] Released in 1966, the song reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in September of that year and remained in the top position for three weeks. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 2 song of 1966.[2] In Canada, the song also reached number one.

The single release of the song was slightly edited by removing one of the two “And I do cherish you” lines near the end of the song. This edit was done as a means of keeping the track from exceeding the three-minute mark, as radio programmers of the era frowned upon songs that went beyond three minutes. However, even with the edit, the song still ran over. Instead of editing further, producer Curt Boettcher intentionally listed “3:00” on the label as the song’s running time.

Session musician Doug Rhodes, also member of The Music Machine, played the Celesta on the recording. Studio player Ben Benay played guitar on the recording. Curt Boettcher added some vocals, most notably the high-pitched “told you” and “hold you” on the final verse.[citation needed] The track was recorded at a converted garage studio owned by Gary S. Paxton, who engineered the sessions along with Pete Romano.

In 2012, original Association member Jim Yester said the record label claimed the song sounded “too old and archaic”, but quipped that the song’s success “just showed we can have archaic and eat it, too.”[3]

You Can’t Hurry Love

“You Can’t Hurry Love” is a 1966 song originally recorded by The Supremes on the Motown label.

Written and produced by Motown production team Holland–Dozier–Holland, the song topped the United States Billboard pop singles chart, in the UK in the top 5, and in the Australian Singles Chart in the top 10, released and peaking late summer/early autumn in 1966.[1] Sixteen years later, it would again become a number-one hit when Phil Collins re-recorded the song. It reached number-one on the UK Singles Chart for two weeks beginning in January 1983,[2] and reached No. 10 on the US Singles Chart that same month.

Sunshine Superman

“Sunshine Superman” is a song written and recorded by Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan. The “Sunshine Superman” single was released in the United States through Epic Records (Epic 5-10045) in July 1966, but due to a contractual dispute the United Kingdom release was delayed until December 1966, where it appeared on Donovan’s previous label, Pye Records (Pye 7N 17241). The “Sunshine Superman” single was backed with “The Trip” on both the United States and United Kingdom releases. It has been described as “[one of the] classics of the era,”[1] and as “the quintessential bright summer sing along”.[2]

“Sunshine Superman” reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States, and subsequently became the title track of Donovan’s third album, Sunshine Superman.[3] Chart positions were No. 1 (US),[3] and No. 2 (UK) (the single was released in December 1966 in the UK). It was Donovan’s only single to reach No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 survey. A different mix of “The Trip” (without harmonica) is also included in the album. It was the first product from the highly successful three-year collaboration between Donovan and producer Mickie Most and is generally considered to be one of the first examples of the musical genre that came to be known as psychedelia.[4] The song features styles of psychedelic folk,[5][6] psychedelic pop[7][8] and folk rock.[9]

Summer in the City

“Summer in the City” is a song recorded by The Lovin’ Spoonful, written by John Sebastian, Mark Sebastian and Steve Boone.

It appeared on their album Hums of the Lovin’ Spoonful, and reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in August 1966, for three consecutive weeks.[3] The song features a series of car horns during the instrumental bridge, starting with a Volkswagen Beetle horn, and ends up with a jackhammer sound, in order to give the impression of the sounds of the summer in the city. The song became a gold record. It is ranked number 401 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[4]

The signature keyboard part is played on a Hohner Pianet, and the organ is a Vox Continental.[citation needed]

Wild Thing (The Troggs song)

“Wild Thing” is a song written by Chip Taylor. Originally recorded by American band The Wild Ones in 1965,[5] “Wild Thing” is best known for its 1966 cover by the English band The Troggs, which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 1966. The song peaked at No. 2 in Britain.

As performed by The Troggs, “Wild Thing” is ranked #261 on the Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Hanky Panky (Tommy James and the Shondells song)

“Hanky Panky” is a song written by Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich for their group, The Raindrops. It was famously remade by rock group Tommy James and the Shondells, who took it to No. 1 in the United States in 1966.

Donald A. Guarisco at Allmusic[1] wrote:

The lyrics of this song convey the excitement of a hormonal lad driven mad by a girl who knows how to do the suggestive dance of the title, building themselves around the oft-repeated lyrical hook of “My baby does the hanky panky.” The music is equally simple and infectious, building itself on simple verse and chorus melodies that bounce up and down in a pleasant, bouncy fashion. James’ version is pure garage rock, a live-in-the-studio effort that layered low-slung guitar riffs over a shuffling stomp of a beat from the rhythm section. James topped it off with amusingly mush-mouthed vocals a la “Louie Louie” and an out-of-control guitar solo that is cheered on by the other band members.

Strangers in the Night

“Strangers in the Night” is a popular song credited to Bert Kaempfert with English lyrics by Charles Singleton and Eddie Snyder.[1] Kaempfert originally used it under the title “Beddy Bye” as part of the instrumental score for the movie A Man Could Get Killed.[1] The song was made famous in 1966 by Frank Sinatra, although it was initially given to Melina Mercouri, who thought that a man’s vocals would suit more to the melody and therefore declined to sing it.[2][3]

Reaching number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Easy Listening chart,[4] it was the title song for Sinatra’s 1966 album Strangers in the Night, which became his most commercially successful album. The song also reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.[5]

Sinatra’s recording won him the Grammy Award for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and the Grammy Award for Record of the Year, as well as a Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist or Instrumentalist for Ernie Freeman at the Grammy Awards of 1967. It became a gold record. Hal Blaine was the drummer on the record and Glen Campbell played rhythm guitar.[citation needed]

Paperback Writer

“Paperback Writer” is a 1966 song recorded and released by the Beatles. Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon[5] (credited to Lennon–McCartney), the song was released as the A-side of their eleventh single. The single went to the number one spot in the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, West Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Norway. On the US Billboard Hot 100, the song was at number one for two non-consecutive weeks, being interrupted by Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night”.

“Paperback Writer” was the last new song by the Beatles to be featured on their final tour in 1966.

Paint It Black

“Paint It Black” (originally released as “Paint It, Black”) is a song by the English rock band The Rolling Stones, written by the songwriting partnership of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, and first released as a single on 6 May 1966 (see 1966 in music). It was later included as the opening track to the U.S. version of their 1966 album, Aftermath.[3]

“Paint It Black” reached number one in both the Billboard Hot 100 and UK Singles Chart. The song became The Rolling Stones’ third number one hit single in the US and sixth in the UK.[4][5] Since its initial release, the song has remained influential as the first number one hit featuring a sitar, particularly in the UK where it has charted in two other instances, and has been the subject of multiple cover versions, compilation albums, and film appearances.[6]

When a Man Loves a Woman (song)

“When a Man Loves a Woman” is a song written by Calvin Lewis and Andrew Wright and first recorded by Percy Sledge[1] in 1966 at Norala Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama. It made number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 and R&B singles charts.[2] Singer and actress Bette Midler covered the song and had a Top 40 hit with her version in 1980. In 1991, Michael Bolton recorded the song and his version peaked at number one on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and the Billboard Adult Contemporary Singles chart.

Monday, Monday

“Monday, Monday” is a 1966 song written by John Phillips and recorded by the Mamas & the Papas using background instruments played by members of The Wrecking Crew[1] for their 1966 album If You Can Believe Your Eyes and Ears. It was the group’s only number-one hit on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.[2]

Phillips said that he wrote the song quickly, in about 20 minutes.[3] The song includes a false ending, when there is a pause before the coda of the song, and goes up a half note for the bridges and refrains of the song. It was the second consecutive number-one hit song in the U.S. to contain a false ending, succeeding “Good Lovin'” by the Young Rascals, and the first time this novelty had occurred between consecutive number one hits.

On March 2, 1967, The Mamas & the Papas won a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal for this song.

Arguably the best live or studio version of the song was performed at the Monterey Rock Festival (California) in 1967.[4] The performance was recorded for film at the time but not in a solo album.[5]

The song appears on the soundtrack of Michael Apted’s film Stardust.

Good Lovin’

“Good Lovin'” is a song written by Rudy Clark and Arthur Resnick that was a number one hit single for The Young Rascals in 1966.

The song was first recorded in early 1965 by Canton, Ohio, R&B singer Limmie Snell under the name “Lemme B. Good”. About a month later the song was redone—with considerably rewritten lyrics—by R&B artists The Olympics; this version reached number 81 on the Billboard Pop Singles chart.

(You’re My) Soul and Inspiration

“(You’re My) Soul And Inspiration” was the first major hit for the American popgroup The Righteous Brothers after leaving their long-standing producer Phil Spector. The song was written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil who also wrote their first hit “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'”. It is the title track of their album.[1] The single peaked at No. 1 on the US Billboard Hot 100, and reached No. 15 on the UK Singles Chart. Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song for 1966.[2]

Ballad of the Green Berets

“The Ballad of the Green Berets” is a patriotic song in the ballad style about the Green Berets, an elite special force in the U.S. Army. It is one of the very few songs of the 1960s to cast the military in a positive light and in 1966 it became a major hit, reaching No. 1 for five weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and four weeks on Cashbox. Ultimately, the song was named Billboard’s #1 single for the year 1966. It was also a crossover smash, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Easy Listening chart and No. 2 on Billboard’s Country survey.

The song was written by Robin Moore and Staff Sgt. Barry Sadler, while the latter was recuperating from a leg wound suffered as a medic in the Vietnam War. Moore also wrote a book, The Green Berets, about the force. The tune itself is borrowed from the traditional American folk song “The Butcher Boy”.

The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret US Army Specialist 5 James Gabriel, Jr., the first native Hawaiian to die in Vietnam, who was killed by Viet Cong gunfire while on a training mission on April 8, 1962.[2] One verse mentioned Gabriel by name, but it wasn’t included in the recorded version.[3]

Sadler debuted the song on television on January 30, 1966 on The Ed Sullivan Show.

These Boots Are Made for Walkin’

“These Boots Are Made for Walkin'” is a hit song written by Lee Hazlewood and recorded by Nancy Sinatra. It was released on February 22, 1966,[citation needed] and hit No. 1 in the United States Billboard Hot 100 and in the UK Singles Chart.[2]

Subsequently, many cover versions of the song have been released in a range of styles: metal, pop, rock, punk rock, country, dance, and industrial. Loretta Lynn, Jessica Simpson, Kon Kan, Geri Halliwell, The Residents, Megadeth, Jewel, Operation Ivy, Parquet Courts, and KMFDM also released covers of the song. Leningrad Cowboys titled their version “These Boots”, and released a video of the song, directed by Aki Kaurismäki.

Lightnin’ Strikes

“Lightnin’ Strikes” is a song written by Lou Christie and Twyla Herbert, and recorded by Christie on the MGM label. It was a hit in 1966, making it first to No. 1 in Canada in January 1966 on the RPM Top Singles chart, then to No. 1 in the U.S. on the Billboard Hot 100 in February, No. 3 on the New Zealand Listener chart in May,[1] and No. 11 on the UK Record Retailer chart. RIAA certification on March 3, 1966, garnering gold status for selling over one million copies.

My Love (Petula Clark song)

“My Love” is a 1965 single release by Petula Clark which in early 1966 became an international hit, reaching #1 in the US: the track continued Clark’s collaboration with songwriter and record producer Tony Hatch.

In November 1965 Tony Hatch, on a flight from London to Los Angeles, was putting the finishing touches on his composition “The Life and Soul of the Party” which he planned to record with Clark in Los Angeles to serve as her next single. In casual conversation with the American sitting next to him Hatch was advised that this song’s title would be meaningless to the American public. Hatch then proceeded to write lyrics for a song whose title – “My Love” – could not conceivably present any comprehension issue: the lyrics were completed during the flight and Hatch completed the music soon after landing in Los Angeles.

“My Love” was recorded at Western Studios[1] and featured the backing of the Wrecking Crew.[2] Petula Clark would recall: “We recorded three songs on that session…I liked the two other songs quite a lot, but I really didn’t like ‘My Love’…I thought it was a bit ordinary. I had got so used to these wonderful songs that Tony had been writing with all these different moods and I thought “My Love” was just a bit flat.”[3] Clark would describe her discouraging Warner Bros a&r man Joe Smith from issuing “My Love” as a single: “he’s a very small man physically…about the right height for me. I was able to get hold of his lapels, and I said to him, ‘Joe, I don’t care which [of the three songs] you put out, but just don’t put out “My Love”. And he said: ‘Trust me, baby.'”[3]

Smith did in fact okay the single release of “My Love” which would return Clark to the top of the US charts for the first time since her breakthrough success with “Downtown”, as “My Love” reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 on 5 February 1966, making her the first British female to have two US #1 hits.[4] Also a #1 hit in Canada, “My Love” returned Clark to the UK Top Ten for the first time since “Downtown” two years previous with a March 1966 peak of #4. ” In the UK the single earned a Silver disc for sales of 200,000 units.

“My Love” also provided Clark with a hit in Australia (#4), Finland (#18), New Zealand (#6), Rhodesia (#1) and South Africa (#6) and reached #13 in both the Netherlands and the Dutch speaking region of Belgium. In Germany “My Love” became a hit first in its original English version (#13) and then again when rendered in German as “Verzeih’ die dummen Tränen” (Forgive the foolish tears) (#21). Translated recordings by Clark also made “My Love” a hit in France and Italy, respectively as “Mon amour” (#12) and “L’amore e il vento” (Love is the wind) (#24).

We Can Work It Out

“We Can Work It Out” is a song by the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon. It was released as a “double A-sided” single with “Day Tripper”, the first time both sides of a single were so designated in an initial release. Both songs were recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions.[2]

The song is an example of Lennon–McCartney collaboration[3] at a depth that happened only rarely after they wrote the hit singles of 1963. This song, “A Day in the Life”, “Baby, You’re a Rich Man”, and “I’ve Got a Feeling”, are among the notable exceptions.[2]

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 the period of 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 in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Paul Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In spring 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 instrumentation with the same musicians who backed Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”. 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, Ireland, 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 2013 along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album.

Originally titled “The Sounds of Silence” on Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., the song was re-titled for later compilations beginning with Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits.[1][2]

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