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.

Simon began his 2018 Homeward Bound farewell tour on May 16 with dates that continue through Sept. 22. Garfunkel also has European and U.S. dates this year.

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