June 1, ’68: Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Mrs. Robinson’ #1

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Mrs._RobinsonThe folk-rock duo return to the top of the charts for the second time, following up their first #1 and million-selling single “The Sound of Silence” two years earlier with a tune that became the theme song for the hit 1967 movie The Graduate. Director Mike Nichols had been listening to the music of Simon & Garfunkel before, throughout and after making the film, and invited Simon to submit a few songs for its soundtrack.

The Record World 100 Top Pops chart for June 1, 1968

After Nichols passed on his first two submissions, Simon & Garfunkel played him an as-yet unfinished number titled “Mrs. Roosevelt” they’d been working on that struck a chord with the director; the name change from its original title to “Mrs. Robinson” – the movie’s older seductress – was seamless. Nichols also liked the phonetic place-holding “dee de dee dee” in the verses in lieu of final lyrics and they ended up in the final version. The other nonsense lyrics in the number, “coo-coo-ca-choo,” were a nod from Simon to The Beatles.

On June 1, 1968, the song reached the top of the Billboard and Record World chart, where it replaced Archie Bell & the Drells’ “Tighten Up” at #1.

“Mrs. Robinson” went on to become the first rock song to win Record of the Year at the Grammy Awards the following year, and also earned Simon & Garfunkel a Grammy for Best Contemporary Pop Performance – Vocal Duo or Group. It became their second million-selling 45.

The duo had a third #1 single in 1970 with “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” They earned seven Top 10 singles (and four others that went Top 20) between 1965-1970.

The Graduate famously starred Dustin Hoffman in the title role, with Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross.

Related: Recap of the final night of Simon’s farewell tour

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