Simon & Garfunkel: The Sound of Silence

The Sound of Silence

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”

The Sound of Silence” is a classic folk rock song written by Paul Simon over a period of several months in 1963 and 1964. It was included in Simon & Garfunkel ‘s debut album, Morning, 3 AM, which was a commercial failure. Then the duo split up: Paul Simon returned to a solo career in England and Art Garfunkel to his studies at university.
But in 1965 the Columbia Records producer had the song overdubbed with electric instruments and the version became a hit. Simon & Garfunkel who had not been informed of the song’s remix until after its release, reunited and recorded their second studio album Sounds of Silence .

This album was added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for long-term preservation for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically important”, in 2013.
The song  origin remains unclear: many believe that it commented on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as Simon had begun writing it in November 1963, the month Kennedy was assassinated. But the artist stated in an interview that he had written it when he was 21 years old, in his bathroom, where he turned off the lights to better concentrate
Garfunkel once summed up the song’s meaning as “the inability of people to communicate with each other, not particularly internationally but especially emotionally, so what you see around you are people unable to love each other.”
When director Mike Nichols was editing the 1967 film The Graduate, he initially timed some scenes to this song, intending to replace it later. However, he eventually concluded that the song was perfect for the film. He also felt Simon & Garfunkel had a sound that fit the tone of the movie, so he commissioned them to write “Mrs. Robinson” specifically for the movie, and also added “Scarborough Fair” and “April Come She Will” to the film.


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