DOWNLOAD THE SONGSHEET
To play along with the video you'll have to detune GCEA tuning down to F#BD#G#. This can be a bit of a tricky song due to some time changes, so for this songsheet, I've added some prompts: the song is in 4/4 time, which means 4 beats to the bar, but the yellow highlighted section on the [G] chord switches to 2/4 time, which means 2 beats, and then goes back to 4/4 time at the next chord. I've also used bar lines around a few sections which indicates that each of the chords within the bar lines is played for 2 beats - so /[C] 1 2 [G] 3 4/ and /[G] 1 2 [Em] 3 4/. At the end, both down arrow chords occur on the 3rd beat. And the asterisk * means that you can look down and using the tabbed picking pattern for the last line. Have fun with the picking - it's super easy!
A studio audition led to the duo signing a record deal with Columbia Records, and "The Sound of Silence" was recorded in March 1964 at Columbia Studios in New York City for inclusion on their debut album, Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M..
Released in October 1964, the album was a commercial failure and led to the duo breaking apart, with Paul Simon returning to England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at Columbia University. In spring 1965, the song began to attract airplay at radio stations in Boston, Massachusetts, and throughout Florida. The growing airplay led Tom Wilson, the song's producer, to remix the track, overdubbing electric instrumentation. Simon & Garfunkel were not informed of the song's remix until after its release. The single was released in September 1965, and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for the week ending January 1, 1966.
In 1999, BMI named "The Sound of Silence" as the 18th most-performed song of the 20th century. In 2004, it was ranked No. 157 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of the duo's three songs on the list. The song is now considered "the quintessential folk rock release". On March 21, 2013, the song was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for long-term preservation along with the rest of the Sounds of Silence album.