The Sound of Silence has a very peculiar history. It was written by then 21-year-old Paul Simon and included in the duo’s 1964 debut album, called Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M.. The work was a sales failure, which led the two friends to split their ways: Garfunkel went back to college, Simon left for England to pursue a solo career.
Tom Wilson,the song’s producer, did not give up on the tune and decided to rearrange the music: he added drums and electric guitars to the original acoustic version, thus obtaining the song as we know it today.
The republished single was an overnight sensation
so what are the reasons that make this song so popular until nowdays?
The first theme of the “vision” is loneliness: the narrator finds himself walking alone on a narrow path.
The song touched upon issues of alienation and living in a world where the only conversation possible was between oneself and the “darkness”, and not with fellow human beings.
Those dark asspects and feelings leads the audice to emotional identification.
In this song there are a usage of sophisticated harmonies.
The arrangement is built around two main harmonic ideas: juxtaposing minor chords and key areas a third apart, and the dissonance of the melodic major 2nd and minor 3rd rubbing up against each other.
This harmony makes the song unforgetable and uniqe.
This song has cross era message, that relevant nowdays.
The Lonliness is everywhere, today more than ever.
people next to each other seem to say things (on the phone or the social media) to everybody except the ones immediately surrounding them.
Paul Simon wrote this song at time of uncertaincy with John F. Kennedy assassination, and few assassinations commited just a short time after, like Martin Luther King.
No one knew what is happening to the US, and the song is talking just about that – filling the darkness and silence which was all around the American society.
Sound of Silence shows a dissonance: the words are very harsh while the melody is very calm and suithing.
That is what makes everyone want to listen to the song at darktimes and try to reflect the meaningful words to their own problem.
The simplicity of the melody and the rythem leave other artists a lot to work with, what made Sound of Silence a very popular song for cover versions.
Every once in a while a well known artist take the song and adds a new flavor to it – some of the versions succeed and some don’t, but that always keeps the song in the mainstream.
A dated and very popular cover version is the one by the Metal band Disturbed.
In this vertion, the band took the song to a darker and gloomy path – which a lot may say is more suited to the lyrics.
Published: Nov 30, 2021
Latest Revision: Nov 30, 2021
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