After the soundtrack album for Mike Nichols
’ comedy/drama “The Graduate
” was released on Jan. 21, 1967, it quickly vaulted to No. 1 on the American LP charts, where it established itself as something distinctly new and different.
It was not the soundtrack for a movie musical like “West Side Story
,” whose 54-week reign at the top of the chart remains an all-time record. Nor did it accompany a feature film by pop’s previous soundtrack champs, the Beatles
(three No. 1 albums, including late 1967’s “Magical Mystery Tour
”) and Elvis Presley
(three chart-toppers between 1957-61).
Instead, “The Graduate
” deployed the New York folk-pop duo Simon & Garfunkel’s music as a tool to underscore and comment on the emotion in its oft-caustic, satirical narrative.
It was an uncommon, and uncommonly effective, movie-making gambit – albeit one that employed scarcely any new material by its marquee musicians. Its most memorable song arrived as little more than a minute-long wisp of a tune.