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The Sound of Silence: are you listening?
Do you remember the amazing tones of Simon and Garfunkel as they entertained and moved us in the early 1960s? I certainly do!
Read more from JK: My four ideas to fix the world
I especially liked The Sound of Silence, released in 1964 as The Sounds of Silence. It had so much to say about a world that was not delivering equally for everyone.
Disturbed brought an angry tone to this one-time folk song and, in doing so, gave new colour to the lyrics.
When I discussed this with a number of friends and colleagues, I found that while they all recalled the song and most could hum the tune, few had paid attention to the lyrics, or even knew them.
In writing this song, Paul Simon wanted to entertain, but he also wanted to inform, provoke and encourage us to ask questions -- in the same way that Bob Dylan or Leonard Cohen did.
All three are entertainers and popular song writers, but they are also so much more than that. They are poets who had something to say and packaged it in music, so people would be more inclined to listen.
To listen to the music and not heed the message seems ignorant to me. It is enjoying the fluff while ignoring the substance. While the fluff makes us feel good, as it should, the message has the capacity to move the world forward to a better place.
So for those who have not listened, here are those lyrics.
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
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
'Neath the halo of a street lamp
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
And 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
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
Make of these lyrics what you will, but please take the time to think about them.
You will get so much more out of the song and it will do more justice to Paul Simon’s work.