'The Sound of Silence' by Simon and Garfunkel saved for the future

 

A popular tune by Simon and Garfunkel written after John F. Kennedy's assassination and Chubby Checker's 1960s dance hit "The Twist" will be among 25 recordings selected for preservation at the Library of Congress.

These are just a few sounds of the 20th century being added to the National Recording Registry on Thursday for long-term preservation due to their cultural, artistic and historic importance. The library said Checker's rendition of "The Twist" became a symbol for the energy and excitement of the early '60s after "American Bandstand" TV host Dick Clark chose Checker to record a new version of the song. 

Later, the 1966 album "Sounds of Silence" by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel was a hit in its day but not before the duo struggled and split early on. Their song "The Sound of Silence" from the aftermath of President Kennedy's assassination 50 years ago this year had initially flopped — but it became a hit after it was re-edited as a single. That prompted the duo to reunite and quickly record another album under a similar title. 

Garfunkel, 71, told press he's thrilled and flattered to have his work preserved in the Library of Congress. He said the hit album was a life changer for him and Simon. "Da da dee, da dee, da dee," he sang in an interview. 

"There's something fundamentally appealing about the simplicity of those lines," Garfunkel said. 

"When you look at the little mesh, wire microphone ... and you address people on the other side of the mic, you hope that your performance will be special, and you hope that it will have lasting power," he said, adding that he remembers thinking in the '60s that "if we do really good and give a very special performance to these great Paul Simon songs, we might last right into the next century and be appreciated." 

Their words and their tune have taken on special significance in American culture. Hearing Simon sing "The Sound of Silence" on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, NBC newsman Tom Brokaw briefly struggled for composure. The music, he said, evokes memories. 

This is the kind of impact the library was looking to preserve, "to celebrate the richness and variety of our audio heritage," said Librarian of Congress James Billington in announcing the selections. 

The recording that received the highest number of public nominations for this year's registry was Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. The library said it was notable as an example of "brilliant, innovative production in service of the music." 

Other selections included the original 1949 cast album for South Pacific and the soundtrack to the popular 1977 movie Saturday Night Fever, starring John Travolta and featuring the Bee Gees, which revived the disco craze. 

The selections span from 1918 to 1980 and represent nearly every musical and recording category. 

Recordings by Will Rogers, Jimmie Davis and President Dwight D. Eisenhower capture part of the political climate of their eras. In 1931, Rogers' radio broadcast at a low point in the Great Depression included a folksy chat with President Herbert Hoover to kick off a nationwide unemployment relief campaign. Davis' 1940 recording of "You Are My Sunshine" became his election campaign theme song while running for governor of Louisiana. It became one of the most popular country songs of all time and the state song of Louisiana in 1977. 

Eisenhower's voice was carried in a prerecorded message in 1958 carried by the first communications satellite launched on a US rocket. Eisenhower's message of peace to the world transmitted from space was touted as a victory in the space race after the Soviet Union launched a satellite the year before. 

Van Cliburn's Cold War piano performance in Moscow when he won the prestigious Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition at 23 also was selected. At the time in 1958, Time magazine noted his appearance and tour of the Soviet Union "has had more favorable impact on more Russians than any US export of word or deed since World War II." 

Earlier this year, the Library of Congress unveiled an extensive plan to help libraries and archives nationwide preserve recorded sound to guard against losing historic recordings. It's proposing 32 recommendations to Congress on actions to preserve endangered audio. 

For his part, Garfunkel said he's still working, writing poems, putting together a book and singing. He said he's working to regain his voice after having vocal troubles. And he said he's ramping up to get back to the stage and wouldn't rule out a reunion with Simon when the time is right. 

"Who knows what the future brings?" Garfunkel said. "This is my old buddy, the first friend I made in life."

AP

Arts and Entertainment
The Rolling Stones at the Roundhouse in London in 1971: from the left, Keys, Charlie Watts, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger

Music ...featuring Eric Clapton no less
Arts and Entertainment
In the dock: Dot Branning (June Brown); Union boss claims EastEnders writers are paid less than minimum wage

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Roger Christian wrote and directed the 1980 Black Angel original, which was lost until 2011

film
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Green (Hand out press photograph provided by Camilla Gould)

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones reviewWarning: Spoilers aplenty
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Syria civil war: Meet the military commander who says his soldiers will not rest until every inch of their war torn country is free of Islamist 'terrorists'

    ‘We won’t stop until Syria is back to normal’

    Near the front lines with Islamist-controlled towns where Assad’s troops were besieged just last month, Robert Fisk meets a commander confidently preparing his soldiers for battle
    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation may undermine Hillary's chances

    The inside story of how Bill Clinton built a $2bn global foundation...

    ... and how it may undermine Hillary's chances in 2016
    12 best olive oils

    Extra-virgin, cold-press, early-harvest, ultra-premium: 12 best olive oils

    Choosing an olive oil is a surprising minefield. Save yourself the hassle with our handy guide
    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at long last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back