Thursday, May 01, 2008

Simon & Garfunkel's "The Graduate" Soundtrack Album

From Wikipedia:
In 1967, Simon and Garfunkel contributed heavily to the soundtrack to Mike Nichols' film The Graduate, which was released on January 21, 1968, and instantly rose to #1 as an album. According to a Variety article by Peter Bart in the May 15, 2005 issue, Nichols had become obsessed with Simon and Garfunkel's music while shooting the film. Larry Turman, his producer, made a deal for Simon to write three new songs for the movie. By the time they were nearly finished editing the film, Simon had only written one new song. Nichols begged him for more but Simon, who was touring constantly, told him he didn't have the time. He did play him a few notes of a new song he had been working on; "It's not for the movie... it's a song about times past -- about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff." Nichols advised Simon, "It's now about Mrs. Robinson, not Mrs. Roosevelt

It's hard to underestimate the appeal of this movie to college age students in the 1960's. I saw it as a student at the University of Oregon at a theater in down town Eugene. I got there for the second showing of the night and there was a big crowd gathered in front the of the entrance that was spilling into the street. When the people who had been to the first showing were leaving the crowd made a corridor for them to exit. As these patrons were leaving a number of people were quizzing them on how they liked the movie and did they get this or that in the movie. At the end of the second showing the audience burst into applause. The first time I had ever witnessed that. I saw the movie again when it went to a drive-in theater near Eugene and watched it again when it was released to theaters a few years later. When I got my first VCR it was the first movie I purchased along with "The Paper Chase."

This album is in a class of it's own. I read a number of years ago that Simon & Grafunkel did not want to do a soundtrack album for this movie and did not believe there was enough of their music in the movie to fill a complete record album. However, the head of Capital Records watched the movie and found additional non Simon & Grafunkel music in the movie and supplemented the Simon & Garfunkel music to fill an entire album. He justified it based upon his believe that a "Soundtrack Album" would expand their fan base and appeal to people who liked the movie but were not necessarily Simon & Garfunkel fans.

Although the album features two versions of the acclaimed "Mrs. Robinson", neither is the full version as featured on Bookends. The first is an instrumental, while the second is abbreviated, tapering off as it does in the film. However, the other major song of the film, "The Sound of Silence," is used three times in the film. My favorite is "Scarborough Fair/Canticle" at 6 minuets and 22 seconds. It's one of those songs I hear over and over in my mind to this day.

Track listing
Songs by Paul Simon except * Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and ** Dave Grusin.

Side one
"The Sound of Silence" – 3:06
"The Singleman Party Foxtrot" ** – 2:52
"Mrs. Robinson" (Instrumental) – 1:14
"Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha" ** – 2:53
"Scarborough Fair/Canticle" (Interlude) – 1:41
"On the Strip" ** – 2:00
Side two"April Come She Will" – 1:50
"The Folks" ** – 2:27
"Scarborough Fair/Canticle" * – 6:22
"A Great Effect" ** – 4:06
"The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine" – 1:46
"Whew" ** – 2:11
"Mrs. Robinson" – 1:12
"The Sound of Silence" – 3:08

Year Chart Position
1968 Billboard Pop Albums (Billboard 200) 1

I of coarse bought the record album and the 8 track tape. Hey, I even went out and bought a corduroy sports jacket like the one Dustin Hoffman had in the picture above.