And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: June 1st, 1968, 46 years ago today . . . the day "Mrs. Robinson" by Simon and Garfunkel first hit #1 on the Billboard chart.
The song had debuted in a shorter and somewhat different form the previous December in the film "The Graduate," starring Dustin Hoffman as the aimless college grad Ben Braddock, and Anne Bancroft as the much older Mrs. Robinson:
Ben: "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me."
Mrs. Robinson: (laughing)
Ben: "Aren't you?"
The movie and the song both struck a nerve in those divisive days of the late 1960s. And though the film never explicitly referred to the angrily-debated Vietnam War, Ben's alienation from the adult world was clear:
Partygoer: "I just want to say one word to you. Just one word."
Ben: "Yes, sir."
Partygoer: "Are you listening?"
Ben: "Yes, I am."
The full version of the song expressed still more disillusionment with adult ways, along with despair over the value of voting:
Laugh about it, shout about it,
When you've got to choose.
Every way you look at it, you lose.
Following Joe DiMaggio's death in 1999, Paul Simon took to the pages of The New York Times to recount a conversation he'd had with the retired Yankee great.
In Simon's recounting, DiMaggio said he didn't quite understand the enigmatic lyric. "I haven't gone anywhere!" he said.
To which Simon says he replied, he didn't mean the line literally -- that he always thought of DiMaggio as an American hero . . . and genuine heroes are always in short supply.
For more info:
Sample Notable Covers of "Mrs. Robinson":
- "Mrs. Robinson" as performed by the Lemonheads (also used in the film, "The Wolf of Wall Street")
- Bon Jovi's cover of "Mrs. Robinson"
- "Mrs. Robinson" as sung by Frank Sinatra (replacing the lyric "Jesus loves you more than you will know" with "Jilly loves you more than you will know")
- "Mrs. Robinson" as performed by glam metal band Kik Tracee
- "Mrs. Robinson" performed by Marc Anthony
- Chet Atkins (the "Godfather of the guitar") performing "Mrs. Robinson"
- A rockabilly "Mrs. Robinson" by the Housewreckers
- A funk instrumental version of "Mrs. Robinson" by the James Taylor Quartet
- Another funky instrumental by Booker T. and the MGs
- The MonaLisa Twins (Mona and Lisa) perform "Mrs. Robinson"
- The melody of "Mrs. Robinson" performed with new (unrelated) Finnish lyrics by the band Eläkeläiset
To hear the real thing - Simon & Garfunkel's rendition - click on the video player below.