Song Lyric Sunday — Top of the Charts

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams has asked us to focus on songs that hit the top of the charts. Wow, there are so many songs that reached number 1. I chose to narrow it down to the song topping the Billboard Hot 100 chart when I graduated from college:

Yes, that’s right. Simon & Garfunkel’s song, “Mrs. Robinson.”

“Mrs. Robinson,” written by Paul Simon and recorded by Simon & Garfunkel, was a track from their fourth studio album, Bookends. The song, which was released as a single in April 1968, was famous for its association with the 1967 film The Graduate. The movie starred Anne Bancroft as Mrs. Robinson, a middle-aged woman who seduces the much younger Dustin Hoffman.

Simon pitched the song to director Mike Nichols after Nichols rejected two other songs intended for the film. The Graduate‘s soundtrack album uses two short versions of “Mrs. Robinson,” while the full version was later included on Bookends.

The song was the duo’s second chart-topper, hitting number 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, as well as peaking within the top 10 in a number of other countries. In 1969, it became the first rock song to win the Grammy Award for Record of the Year. In 2004, it finished at number 6 on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs survey of top tunes in American cinema.

Simon began writing the song as “Mrs. Roosevelt,” and had just the line, “Here’s to you, Mrs. Roosevelt” when he changed it to “Mrs. Robinson” for The Graduate. Eleanor Roosevelt was a likely influence on the song, and some of the lyrics seem to support that. “We’d like to know a little bit about you for our files / We’d like to help you learn to help yourself,” and “Going to the candidates debate / Laugh about it, shout about it / When you’ve got to choose / Every way you look at it, you lose.”

Simon’s inclusion of the phrase “coo-coo-ca-choo” was an homage to a lyric in the Beatles’ song, “I Am the Walrus.”

There is the famous line in the song, “Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio? / Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.” DiMaggio was a star baseball player for the New York Yankees who was briefly married to Marilyn Monroe. Simon, who was a big Yankees fan, said he was using DiMaggio to represent heroes of the past.

Simon actually met DiMaggio at a New York City restaurant in the 1970s, and the two discussed the song. DiMaggio said, “What I don’t understand, is why you ask where I’ve gone. I just did a Mr. Coffee commercial, I’m a spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank, and I haven’t gone anywhere!” Simon replied that he didn’t mean the lines literally. He said he thought of DiMaggio as an American hero and that genuine heroes were in short supply. DiMaggio accepted the explanation from Simon and thanked him.

Here are the lyrics to “Mrs. Robinson.”

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know
Whoa, whoa, whoa
God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

We'd like to know a little bit about you for our files
We'd like to help you learn to help yourself
Look around you all you see are sympathetic eyes
Stroll around the grounds until you feel at home

And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know
Whoa, whoa, whoa
God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

Hide it in the hiding place where no one ever goes
Put it in your pantry with your cupcakes
It's a little secret just the Robinson's affair
Most of all you've got to hide it from the kids

Coo-coo-ca-choo, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know
Whoa, whoa, whoa
God bless you, please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

Sitting on a sofa on a Sunday afternoon
Going to the candidates' debate
Laugh about it, shout about it
When you've got to choose
Every way you look at this you lose

Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you
Woo, woo, woo
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Jolting Joe has left and gone away
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

19 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — Top of the Charts

  1. cagedunn July 17, 2022 / 3:10 am

    I prefer The Boxer, but don’t know if it was ever top of the charts anywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Fandango July 17, 2022 / 6:48 am

      It’s a good song. According to Wikipedia, it peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It performed well internationally, charting within the Top 10 in nine countries, peaking highest in the Netherlands, Austria, South Africa, and Canada. Rolling Stone ranked the song No. 106 on its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Nope, Not Pam July 17, 2022 / 3:57 am

    Wow, a lot of back story in this one, really interesting, thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Clive July 17, 2022 / 4:02 am

    A great song, from a great album. A good choice for the theme.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. bushboy July 17, 2022 / 4:52 am

    One of my favourites but down the list behind The Boxer, Sounds of Silence and I am a Rock

    Liked by 1 person

  5. willowdot21 July 17, 2022 / 5:30 am

    Always liked this one, I had heard some of its facts but not all thanks for the explanation. Great song 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Paula Light July 17, 2022 / 5:49 am

    Fab song! And from one of my favorite movies too. Great pick!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Marleen July 17, 2022 / 6:36 am

    Interesting that it took this kind of theme for the older generation (in charge of the Grammys) to accept rock and award it an honor of Record of the Year. This is like life soundtrack for eh-hem, I won’t say who, whether she knows it or not. I’m grouping it, now, with Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum) and Big Time (Peter Gabriel).

    Liked by 1 person

    • Marleen July 17, 2022 / 1:12 pm

      The following (below) is different, but I’m including it because the song has his name. I can see why Joe was touchy when he heard reference to his himself in a song. (I say this is different. Some people think there’s a simple option between either being fully uptight or being a good person or something or pious. Hitting on your daughter’s boyfriend or even peer group [but the latter is slightly, only slightly, extra in terms of standards to stay away from indecency] is far different from showing fans less than [or perhaps the same as] what would be seen with a swimsuit on, particularly when showing off is your career. Someone said to me, not long ago, that “The Bible” says people should be put to death for pre-marital sex — like a couple of teenagers. Not so. [A rapist for rape, though, yes.] People reject some misconception and go overboard thinking anything at all is “okay” to them. They really have to be missing any plain human conscience.) If this article is correct, the “hero” overreacted in a number of ways.

      https://bestlifeonline.com/news-marilyn-monroe-dress-scene-joe-dimaggio/#:~:text=Marilyn%20Monroe%20was%20married%20to,began%20a%20highly%20publicized%20romance.

      According to The New York Times, “hundreds of gawkers, almost all men … catcalled and yelled things like, ‘Higher! Higher!’ as Ms. Monroe’s dress blew up over her head. For two hours, the men watched from surrounding buildings and from the street.”

      But one of those men in the crowd didn’t like what he saw: her husband at the time, Joe DiMaggio.

      Liked by 1 person

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