“Hello darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk to you again”. Yes, every person who was born in the 50’s and 60’s will know this lyric. The classic Paul Simon penned song “The Sounds of Silence” is truly a modern masterpiece of musical genius. But it nearly didn’t make it. After first being recorded by the duo “Simon & Garfunkel” in 1964, for their debut album “Wednesday Morning, 3A.M.” the album failed and as far as the pair were concerned, that was it! Simon went to England to pursue a solo career where he partnered up briefly with “Bruce Woodley” of “The Seekers” fame, while Garfunkel returned to university.
Then in 1965, the songs producer “Tom Wilson” remixed the track adding other instruments then re-released the song in September that year. Simon & Garfunkel were never told of the remix until after its release when it began to make headway on the charts. It hit number-1 on the “Billboard Hot 100” charts in the first week of January 1966, a catalyst for the duo to re-form. They then rapidly recorded their second album entitled “Sounds of Silence” in an attempt to ride on the coat tails of the singles success.
As it is said in the classics, as far as Simon & Garfunkel are concerned, the rest is history, but what about the song itself?
The origins of the song remain a mystery to all but Paul Simon himself. Some say the song is about the assassination of JFK, but Simon refutes this as he says the song was written when he was 21-years-old, way before the tragic events of 1964. But does it really matter? Like most lyrics, the writer knows what they are about but wants the listener to interpret them however they want. What the words mean to you, that’s all that is important.
It is the same with the musical content of any song. The composer has one thing in mind, but this does not mean that that is the end of the story. How many differing versions of the classics have you heard? For example “Bach’s”
Toccata has had many interpretations, including the instrumental rock group “Sky’s”1980 number 1 hit. Canadian guitar virtuoso “Jamie Dupuis” has taken “The Sounds of Silence” to another level with his harp guitar version.
This graduate form “Cambriam College” and the “Californian Musicians Institute” takes the song to a whole new level. When you watch, and more importantly listen, to his version you would think you are listening to a band, not one man, one instrument. Even the film clip takes you on a journey through the surreal.
Click on the link below and enjoy a truly inspirational version of a song that inadvertently inspired a whole generation.