Friday, June 1, 2018

Today in Music (1968): Simon & Garfunkel hit #1 with “Mrs. Robinson”

Mrs. Robinson

Simon & Garfunkel

Writer(s): Paul Simon (see lyrics here)

Released: April 5, 1968

First Charted: April 27, 1968

Peak: 13 US, 14 CB, 11 GR, 13 HR, 4 AC, 1 CL, 4 UK, 12 CN, 8 AU, 1 DF (Click for codes to charts.)

Sales (in millions): 1.0 US, -- UK, 1.0 world (includes US + UK)

Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 7.0 radio, 103.2 video, 515.93 streaming


Click on award for more details.

About the Song:

“Mrs. Robinson” and its resulting soundtrack kickstarted an industry. Previously, getting kids to plop down cash for the mood-setting music of a movie “was considered absurd.” TB Ironically, though, that song was the only new cut amongst a collection of previously released Simon & Garfunkel songs. Even then, the version of “Mrs. Robinson” which is best known is not the one from the movie, but the more-fleshed out radio version available on S&G’s Bookends album. TB

Director Mike Nichols tapped the famed folk duo to do music for his film The Graduate. The iconic film starred Dustin Hoffman as a young man seduced by his girlfriend’s mother (Mrs. Robinson – played by Anne Bancroft). However, while Paul Simon was working up new material, Nichols was temporarily filling those spots with the duo’s older songs. In the end, Nichols grew fond of the older material and only one new song made it into the film – “Mrs. Robinson.” FB

The song began life as an instrumental and, at one time, was being written as “Mrs. Roosevelt”, seemingly about Eleanor Roosevelt. SF It was Art Garfunkel who suggested naming the song after Bancroft’s character. Simon then fleshed the song out to become an even broader commentary on American culture in the ‘60s, famously using baseball player Joe DiMaggio as a symbol of people searching for heroes. In a 1990 interview with SongTalk magazine, Simon said “it’s one of the most well-known lines that I’ve ever written.” SF

Interestingly, the song would seem to have been a perfect candidate to win an Oscar for Best Song from a Movie, but S&G never filled out the forms necessary to have the song considered. SF


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First posted 4/27/2012; updated 10/111/2023.

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