"Mrs. Robinson" is a song written by Paul Simon and first performed by Simon and Garfunkel. When released as a single in 1968, it hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US, for their second chart-topping hit after "The Sounds of Silence". An early version of the song appeared in the motion picture The Graduate (1967) and its subsequent soundtrack, while the complete song debuted on their album Bookends (1968). The song earned the duo a Grammy Award for Record of the Year in 1969. Top session drummer Hal Blaine played on this. He considers it one of his favorites.
"And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson.
Jesus loves you more than you will know.
Woah, woah, woah.
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson.
Heaven holds a place for those who pray.
Hey hey hey, Hey hey hey."
In the film The Graduate, listless recent college graduate Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has an affair with an older married woman, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft). The song as it appears in the film is different from the familiar hit single version, as only the chorus of the song appears multiple times throughout the second half of the film. It was only later on that Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel re-recorded the song by employing additional lyrics to form the hit single.
According to a Variety article by Peter Bart in the May 15, 2005 issue, director Mike Nichols had become obsessed with Simon & Garfunkel's music while shooting the film. Larry Turman, his producer, made a deal for Simon to write three new songs for the movie. By the time they were nearly finished editing the film, Simon had only written one new song. Nichols begged him for more but Simon, who was touring constantly, told him he didn't have the time. He did play him a few notes of a new song he had been working on; "It's not for the movie... it's a song about times past — about Mrs. Roosevelt and Joe DiMaggio and stuff." Nichols advised Simon, "It's now about Mrs. Robinson, not Mrs. Roosevelt."
These lines in the last verse about Joe DiMaggio
"Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?
Our nation turns its lonely eyes to you.
What's that you say, Mrs. Robinson?
Joltin' Joe has left and gone away."
are perhaps the most discussed. Paul Simon, a fan of Mickey Mantle, was asked during an intermission on The Dick Cavett Show why Mantle wasnt mentioned in the song instead of DiMaggio. Simon replied, "It's about syllables, Dick. It's about how many beats there are." For himself, DiMaggio initially complained that he had not gone anywhere, but soon dropped his complaints after a cordial meeting with Paul Simon when he explained what the lines meant. In a New York Times op-ed in March 1999, shortly after DiMaggio's death, Simon discussed this meeting and explained that the line was meant as a sincere tribute to DiMaggio's unpretentious heroic stature, in a time when popular culture magnifies and distorts how we perceive our heroes. He further reflected: "In these days of Presidential transgressions and apologies and prime-time interviews about private sexual matters, we grieve for Joe DiMaggio and mourn the loss of his grace and dignity, his fierce sense of privacy, his fidelity to the memory of his wife and the power of his silence." Simon subsequently performed "Mrs. Robinson" at Yankee Stadium in DiMaggio's honor in April of the same year.