Produced by Teo Macero
Label – Columbia Masterworks
One of the era defining movies, ‘The Graduate” was also one of the first commercially successful movies to use popular music as a backdrop, and would pave the way for the inter-relationship between film and music culture. Agreed, Elvis and The Beatles had used their own music to promote their respective movies, but the tracks were largely used as a vehicle to market the artist and the band exclusively. What “Graduate” Director Mike Nicholls chose to do was to hook into youth culture by deliberately moving away from staged and very often stale movie studio production, and highlighting a music that was both popular, hip, and commercially viable. So, as a stand alone musical piece, does the album work ? Well as a marketing statement that would define movie soundtracks for the future, then yes, it is a massive success, but as a musical piece of work it just barely satisfies.
The problem lies in the Simon & Garfunkel material that was used for the movie. The songs are strong, “Sounds Of Silence”, “Scarborough Fair”, and for me the eternally underrated and quite beautiful “April Come She Will”, but they are all from the previous two Simon & Garfunkel long players and many fans would already have them in their collection. Indeed, the only genuinely new song created for the movie is the less than brilliant “Mrs Robinson”. A reasonable pop song but definitely not one of the duo’s best. The other problem lies in the fact that the Simon & Garfunkel songs share the same billing with an equal amount of Dave Grusin instrumentals which were created for the movie. Waltzes, Bossanovas, and light orchestral music which work well in conjunction with the visual imagery, but as stand alone songs are barely interesting to your average teenage kid.
“The Graduate” contains some great moments, but if you’re a casual Simon & Garfunkel fan, then you’re probably better off looking for a Greatest Hits package.
1.”The Sound of Silence” 3:06
2.”The Singleman Party Foxtrot” Dave Grusin 2:52
3.”Mrs. Robinson” (Version 1) 1:12
4.”Sunporch Cha-Cha-Cha” Grusin 2:53
5.”Scarborough Fair/Canticle” (Interlude) 1:41
6.”On the Strip” Grusin 2:00
7.”April Come She Will” 1:50
8.”The Folks” Grusin 2:27
9.”Scarborough Fair/Canticle” 6:22
10.”A Great Effect” Grusin 4:06
11.”The Big Bright Green Pleasure Machine” 1:46
12.”Whew” Grusin 2:10
13.”Mrs. Robinson” (Version 2) 1:12
14.”The Sound of Silence” 3:08
Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970): Review