April 22, 1968

April22On this day in 1968, the song ‘Mrs. Robinson’ was released. Written by Paul Simon, and performed by Simon & Garfunkel, the song would hit No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart.

An early version of the song was used in the 1967 film The Graduate. It was not completed at this time and only certain verses could be used. The Graduate director Mike Nichols was a huge fan of Simon & Garfunkel, and producer Larry Turman was able to land a deal for three new songs to be written for the production. When visiting Simon on tour, Nichols would discover that Simon had only written one new song, and it was not for the film. Simon played what he had written so far, and told Nichols that it was about Mrs. Roosevelt. Frustrated, Nichols reminded Simon that they had a deal, resulting in the song’s title being changed to ‘Mrs. Robinson’ to better fit the film.

The famous line, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio” caused DiMaggio to reach out to Simon in writing, and then for a personal meeting, asking him why he would write lyrics like that when he had not gone anywhere, even adding “I just did a coffee commercial.” Simon would state that he favoured Mickey Mantle over DiMaggio, but it was DiMaggio’s syllables that fit better into the song. After DiMaggio’s death Simon would release this statement “In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his late wife and the power of his silence.” Yankee Stadium held a memorial for DiMaggio a month after his passing. Simon would attend and play ‘Mrs. Robinson’.

The track earned Simon & Garfunkel the Grammy Award for the Best Duet, and Record of the Year in 1969.

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