Cover Wars: The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence was written by Paul Simon and was originally called The Sounds of Silence. It was written over a period of time during 1963 and 1964. Simon and Garfunkel auditioned the song in 1964, which led to a record deal with Columbia Records. The song was on their debut album Wednesday Morning 3:00 AM. It was released in October 1964, and was such a failure it led to the breakup of the band.

1n 1965 the song began to get airplay in Boston and across the state of Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song’s producer, to remix the song, overdubbing the electric instrumentation with the same musicians who backed Bob Dylan on Like a Rolling Stone. Simon and Garfunkel were not even told of the song’s remix until after its release. The single was re-released in September 1965, and it hit Billboard’s Number one spot in January 1966.

In 1999, BMI named “The Sound of Silence” as the 18th most-performed song of the 20th century. In 2004, it was ranked at 156 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of the duo’s three songs on the list. The song is now considered “the quintessential folk rock release.”

Art Garfunkel was once quoted by Marc Eliot (author of the biography Paul Simon: A Life) as saying the song was about “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”

This is one of my very favorite songs, and It has been covered by a diverse group of pop and rock starts, so it’s been very hard to choose just four, but here we go. The videos are worth watching as well. Here’s to the one that moves you the most; raises the hair on your arms…


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