Anger and turmoil took over on this week in 1968, in which Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. 24 hours prior to his assassination, Columbia Records released Simon and Garfunkel’s Bookends, an album that would serve as a soundtrack to help ease and release the tension within a nation in the midst of a societal revolution.
Being the fourth studio album by the folk rock duo, Bookends took on a conceptual angle, walking through the journey of life from childhood on to old age. The album takes on various stages of life such as successes, adolescence, relationships, downhills, and death. The album contains “Mrs.Robinson”, a number one hit single that was also used as part of a soundtrack album for the 1967 film, The Graduate, directed by Mike Nichols. Nichols had previously contacted Simon, asking him to write songs for his film. The release of the soundtrack album weeks before helped provide momentum for the duo’s upcoming album as well as the rest of their career.
Bookends reached the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard chart three weeks after its release and continued to uphold the spot for seven non-consecutive weeks. Lyrically tender and existential, Simon and Garfunkel created a warm essence of what it meant to live through life at its very core and served as a cradling guide for the helpless human soul.