The Sounds of Silence
When does an old song become new and change the world again?
Like most of my high school friends in 1964, I listened to WABX, the Detroit freeform / progressive rock station sometimes called “The station that glows in the dark.” It was on WABX that I first heard Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel perform “The Sounds of Silence.”
I remember all of us – my circle of friends – being stunned by the simplicity of the single folksy acoustic guitar – remember, this was the same year as The Stone’s “19th Nervous Breakdown” and Mitch Ryder & The Detroit Wheel’s “Devil with the Blue Dress On.”
But it wasn’t just the music that captivated us. Somewhere, deep inside, despite our youth and lack of real understanding of the world at large, the lyrics struck a chord and stayed with us. Perhaps I should say they stayed silent within us.
Here’s a link to a recording of the original version from 1964. If you’re like me, it takes you back, and in some way, makes you smile, makes you remember those carefree days.
Fast forward fifty years (OMG! FIFTY years!) and my son tells me to watch the YouTube Video cover of the song by a group called DISTURBED. I have to admit I was disturbed to know that there was a heavy metal band called Disturbed, but that’s not the point.
This new version of an old song earned Disturbed a 2016 Grammy Nomination for Best Rock Performance.
The cover video blew me away, made me realize that Paul Simon was a prophet as well as a songwriter. We didn’t know it then. Perhaps we don’t want to believe it now.
Think about the lyric “…And the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made…” in terms of today’s totally electronic world.
Think about “..people talking without speaking, people hearing without listening…” in terms of our primary method of communications – Social Media (which is no longer social and is anything but valid media).
Think about the images Disturbed used in their video.
And let them echo – in the Sounds of Silence.