Live in Central Park, NY. 1981. Paul Simon was looking for a publishing deal when he presented this song to Tom Wilson at Columbia Records. Wilson thought it could work for a group called The Pilgrims, but Simon wanted to show him how it could work with two singers, so he and and Art Garfunkel sang it to the guys at Columbia Records, who were impressed with the duo and decided to sign them. This was one of the songs Simon & Garfunkel performed in 1964 when they were starting out and playing the folk clubs in Greenwich Village. It was their first hit. Simon & Garfunkel did not write this about the Vietnam War, but by the time it became popular, the war was on and many people felt it made a powerful statement as an anti-war song.
The first recording was an acoustic version on Simon & Garfunkel's first album, Wednesday Morning, 3 AM, which was billed as "exciting new sounds in the folk tradition," and sold about 2000 copies. When the album tanked, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel split up. What they didn't know was that their record company had a plan. Trying to take advantage of the folk-rock movement, Columbia Records had producer Tom Wilson add electric instruments to the acoustic track, and released it as a single. Simon and Garfunkel had no idea their acoustic song had been overdubbed with electric instruments, but it became a huge hit and got them back together. Had Wilson not reworked the song without their knowledge, the duo probably would have gone their separate ways. When the song hit #1 in the States, Simon was in England and Garfunkel was at college.
Paul Simon took six months to write the lyrics, which are about man's lack of communication with his fellow man.