Sounds of Silence
Paul Simon was performing solo in England and Art Garfunkel was attending graduate school when “The Sounds Of Silence” topped the singles charts in January 1966. Its success prompted them to re-form as a duo and record an album named for their unexpected hit single. Released later that year, Sounds Of Silence features the fine-etched songwriting and luminous harmonies that would typify later S&G albums in still more refined form. Its songs — even those dressed up in electric rock arrangements — are mostly rooted in acoustic folk traditions. “April Come She Will,” “Leaves That Are Green” and “Kathy’s Song” are slightly formal musings on love and aging, graced by the melodic brilliance Simon would develop in the years ahead. “Richard Cory” and “A Most Peculiar Man” are social commentaries wrapped in character sketches. Paul and Art lighten up a little for the lightly-rocking “Somewhere They Can’t Find Me” and “We’ve Got A Groovey Thing Goin’.” Existential angst and folk-rock instrumentation come together on the title song and “I Am A Rock,” as uplifting musically as they are downbeat lyrically. Overall, the first stirrings of the duo’s future greatness can be heard loud and clear on Sounds Of Silence.