Mrs. Robinson (4/27/68) #1 US, #9 UK, #4 AC. Sales: ½ million. Airplay: 6 million
The Graduate Soundtrack
Simon & Garfunkel/ Dave Grusin
“The soundtrack to Mike Nichols’ The Graduate remains a key musical document of the late ‘60s, although truth be told, its impact was much less artistic than commercial (and, for that matter, much more negative than positive). With the exception of its centerpiece track, the elegiac and oft-quoted Mrs. Robinson, the Simon & Garfunkel songs that comprise much of the record (a series of Dave Grusin instrumentals round it out) appeared on the duo’s earlier LPs Sounds of Silence and Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; Nichols’ masterstroke was to transplant these pre-existing songs into his film, where they not only meshed perfectly with the story’s themes of youthful rebellion and alienation but also heralded a new era in movie music centered around the appropriation of past pop hits, a marketing gimmick that grew exponentially in the years to follow” (Ankeny).
“The Graduate soundtrack, then, merits the dubious honor of being the earliest and one of the most successful Hollywood repackagings of ‘found’ pop songs, a formula essentially based around coercing fans to purchase material they already own in order to acquire the occasional new track or two; moreover, it’s both the legacy and the curse of Simon & Garfunkel’s songs – some of the best the duo ever recorded – that they’re now forever linked with a hit film for which, with one exception, they weren’t even written” (Ankeny).
“While The Graduate offers a successful marriage between movies and music, when one considers all of the other songs shoehorned into films where they didn't belong – and now burdened with cultural baggage their authors never intended – it’s hard not to wish the synergy between Nichols and Simon & Garfunkel had never existed at all” (Ankeny).