November 30, 2011

Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer (1969)

Performing together as early as 1957 under the name of Tom & Jerry, this duet was one of the most successful acts of the 1960s. Composed of Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, they rose to fame in 1965 with their signature song “The Sound of Silence” and further propelled their stardom by having their music featured throughout the 1967 film The Graduate. Differences between the two led to the duo breaking up in 1970, but each decade since has seen them perform together, most notably the free Concert In Central Park, which gathered over 500,000 attendees.

This lyrical masterpiece, written by Paul Simon, was released as a single in 1969 and later again on the duo’s last album, Bridge Over Troubled Water (1970). It’s noted for being the duo’s most highly produced song, requiring over 100 hours to record. The “lie-la-lie”, which makes up the choruses, was originally intended as a lyrical placeholder before it was finally cemented into the recorded version.

Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer

Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer (1969)

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I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles; such are promises
All lies and jests
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station, runnin’ scared
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Lookin’ for the places only they would know


Asking only workman's wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there


Then I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Going home
Where the New York City winters aren't bleedin’ me
Bleeding me; going home

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
Or cut him ‘til he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving! I am leaving!"
But the fighter still remains


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