About the song

Ah, yes, The Sound of Silence by Simon & Garfunkel, a song that transcends generations and continues to resonate deeply with listeners even decades after its release. This particular rendition, captured live at the 25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2009, offers a unique opportunity to witness the magic of Simon & Garfunkel on stage, reuniting for a truly special occasion.

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Composed by Paul Simon in the early 1960s, The Sound of Silence was initially met with limited commercial success. However, a fortuitous turn of events, including a captivating live performance on the television program Tom Kines’ Wonderwall, propelled the song to national prominence. The song’s hauntingly beautiful melody, coupled with Simon’s introspective lyrics grappling with isolation and communication breakdown, struck a chord with a generation grappling with social and political upheaval.

The Sound of Silence is a masterclass in minimalist songwriting. The opening features only Paul Simon’s acoustic guitar and his distinctive tenor vocals, delicately weaving the melody and the now-iconic lyrics: “Hello darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…” The raw vulnerability in his voice perfectly captures the sense of alienation and yearning for connection that permeates the song.

As the song progresses, Art Garfunkel’s rich baritone harmonies enter, adding a layer of depth and emotional resonance. Their voices intertwine seamlessly, creating a tapestry of sound that perfectly complements the emotional weight of the lyrics. It’s a testament to their undeniable vocal chemistry, a key ingredient in the enduring success of Simon & Garfunkel’s music.

This live rendition from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame takes on a special significance. Reunited after a period of estrangement, Simon & Garfunkel deliver a performance imbued with a palpable sense of nostalgia and reconciliation. The energy of the crowd adds another dimension to the experience, their rapt attention and enthusiastic applause underlining the song’s enduring power.

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The Sound of Silence, both in its original studio version and in this electrifying live performance, is a landmark achievement in popular music. It’s a song that continues to inspire discussion, reflection, and countless covers by artists across genres. This particular performance offers a glimpse into the artistry of Simon & Garfunkel at their peak, a testament to their enduring legacy in the annals of rock and roll history.

Video

Lyrics

“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

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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.”