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Simon & Garfunkel — The Boxer
Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Avg rating:
8.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2239









Released: 1969
Length: 5:07
Plays (last 30 days): 0
I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm-mm
Mm-mm-mm-mm-mm

When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station
Running scared
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know

Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie

Asking only workman's wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare, there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
La-la-la-la-la-la-la

Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie

Then I'm laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Going home
Where the New York City winters aren't bleeding me
Leading me
Going home

In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
"I am leaving, I am leaving"
But the fighter still remains
Mm-mm-mm

Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Lie-la-lie
Lie-la-lie-lie-lie-lie-lie, lie-lie-lie-lie-lie
Comments (296)add comment
What an extraordinary godlike song!  In his anger and his shame......the fighter still remains.
I sure wish I could sing those harmonies like Garfunkel. I would be the 2nd coolest kid on the block. But, alas, I am cursed with a deep, soft baritone. Why God, why? This song is a 10 and that's all there is to it. Now goodnight.
When strings in a song were real...
Long Live                                                                                                                                      Radio Paradise
To me this is                                                                                                                         9 -OUTSTANDING  
 roguewarer wrote:
Wow! Lowest is an "8". This is comforting. Excellent music and arrangement. Timeless. Simon still has it. Absolutely amazing music.

 
A little over 15 years later there are 204 votes of 7 or less, including 25 1's.  Must be that "younger generation".


Grabs you like an anthem.
 Grammarcop wrote:
On a recent edition of his radio show on the CBC, Randy Bachman (yes, that Randy Bachman) told the story of how the recording engineers got the echoing "BOOM" sound in this song. 

Paul Simon had a sound in his head — an effect that he wanted — and nothing they tried in the studio worked. So one evening, after everyone had left the CBS building in New York City, the engineers put a snare drum at the bottom of an elevator shaft and a microphone at the top — 22 stories up. 

BOOM! It worked.
 

 
I just made the sound with my mouth when I'd sing this to my kids when they were babies.  That worked too  Always made them laugh. Now they are both seniors. one in college the other in high school, and they still love S&G.
 golfguy510 wrote:
During his performance at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on 6/3, Paul Simon announced the passing of Ali and then played The Boxer. Poignant.

 
To say the least.
On a recent edition of his radio show on the CBC, Randy Bachman (yes, that Randy Bachman) told the story of how the recording engineers got the echoing "BOOM" sound in this song. 

Paul Simon had a sound in his head — an effect that he wanted — and nothing they tried in the studio worked. So one evening, after everyone had left the CBS building in New York City, the engineers put a snare drum at the bottom of an elevator shaft and a microphone at the top — 22 stories up. 

BOOM! It worked.
 
 Beans24 wrote:
Ahhhh! Followed up a great song with one of my top five songs..... You always read my brain, RP. <3

 


During his performance at the Greek Theater in Berkeley on 6/3, Paul Simon announced the passing of Ali and then played The Boxer. Poignant.
Ahhhh! Followed up a great song with one of my top five songs..... You always read my brain, RP. <3
I remember when my parents first got this album.  The war was raging, some of their college friends went away, some came back alive, we protested, we carried on.  We hung out; we listened to Nashville Skyline, Sgt. Pepper's, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Beethoven, Bach, Miles, Wes.

I listen to RP and college raydidio religiously.  My 16-year old kvetches about RP's being too soft (hey, I'm in charge of the remote control and the whole-house sound system, hee hee), but he continues to place Lay Lady Lay, the last 4 Beatles albums, Simon & Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Miles, and Pucini up at the top with Sabbath, Led Zep, Mettalica, Kendrick, & Snoop.  Not long ago, after a couple of years of whining, he inquired about Alt-J (thx RP), and has now been hittin' it pretty good too.

The more things change, the more they stay the same, AND great music ... is ... GREAT.
Rock it RP!
eswiley2 said "wisdom beyond their years". So true. We Americans now of a generation gray haired and balding know all too well and have lived the many emotional and political truths Simon and Garfunkel conveyed through their songs. Perpetual thanks to Bill and RadioParadise for reminding us of such gems of our time.
 black321 wrote:
Songwriters couldn't figure out the rest of the lyric?

 
Ah, but if they had, bet you wouldn't remember the song today.

Those "lie-la-lie"s and that reverbed drum really raise the song to hit status.

Wouldn't have chopped the tarts otherwise.
imo, it's such a fabulous song, it makes all other sounds drop further back, every added sound to this track is so strong and stirring, and I have to say it's actually fun and filling 
The most amazing thing about a lot of their music (Sounds of Silence, Bridge over Troubled Water, The Boxer) is that when they wrote/performed these songs — they were just KIDS.

Wisdom far beyond their years.
 Zeito wrote:
I was reading this article when this song came on.  Paul and Edie apparently have a darker side.  https://www.cnn.com/2014/04/28/showbiz/paul-simon-arrested/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

 
Something off about her anyway (him too.)  Married when he was 50 and she was 25... {#Eek}
 Proclivities wrote:

Like the last four minutes of "Hey Jude"?  There are probably enough lyrics, I always wondered how they got that cannon in the studio. {#Propeller}

 

i heard an interview with Art where he said the "cannon" was a kettle drum sped up a little. They spent fair amount of time getting it just so. I think the hit the whole song, perhaps the whole album, just as perfectly.
 Andy_B wrote:
Absolutely the best Simon & Garfunkel ever.  A solid 10 heading for 11.

  
Absolutely!

This may have been the first album I bought. Song brings me back to those interesting times. 
prefect.
 black321 wrote:
Songwriters couldn't figure out the rest of the lyric?

 
Like the last four minutes of "Hey Jude"?  There are probably enough lyrics, I always wondered how they got that cannon in the studio. {#Propeller}
Nothing compares to "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
timeless -- {#Sunny}
Does anyone else hear the Prince of Denmark's March in there? Or actually...after more thought I think the theme song to the Olympic games?  
Songwriters couldn't figure out the rest of the lyric?
Songs about Simon fighting too poignant today.
I was reading this article when this song came on.  Paul and Edie apparently have a darker side.  https://www.cnn.com/2014/04/28/showbiz/paul-simon-arrested/index.html?hpt=hp_t2
 JuliaH wrote:
I believe this is the only song I've heard on RP that received virtually unanimous praise.  What an extraordinary song!

 
I think this is so as many of us have been there at some point in our lives.  The eternal struggle of life...
Absolutely the best Simon & Garfunkel ever.  A solid 10 heading for 11.
I believe this is the only song I've heard on RP that received virtually unanimous praise.  What an extraordinary song!
10, next please
 ycb661 wrote:
I love the chorus, rifle blast included

 
Not a rifle blast, though. Check out these two great pieces on the making of the song. 


https://www.bmi.com/news/entry/takes_from_the_top_recording_simon_garfunkels_the_boxer

The spirit of technical creativity continued weeks later back in New York City. In an effort to fulfill his love of big natural reverb, producer Halee rang up session drummer Hal Blaine, who eventually found himself standing alongside a large empty elevator shaft inside Columbia’s East 52nd Street studio building on an otherwise quiet Sunday afternoon.

“There we were with all these mic cables, my drums, and a set of headphones,” says Blaine. “When the chorus came around — the ‘lie-la-lie’ bit — Roy had me come down on my snare drum as hard as I could. In that hallway, right next to this open elevator shaft, it sounded like a cannon shot! Which was just the kind of sound we were after.”


From another very good article:

https://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=2751

The legendary session drummer Hal Blaine created the huge drum sound with the help of producer Roy Halee, who found a spot for the drums in front of an elevator in the Columbia offices. As recounted in the 2011 Making of Bridge Over Troubled Water documentary, Blaine would pound the drums at the end of the "Lie la lie" vocals that were playing in his headphones, and at one point, an elderly security guard got a big surprise when he came out of the elevator and was startled by Blaine's thunderous drums. 


I just hope the guard got the chance to realize later that he'd witnessed musical history in the making.  
https://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/sports/photos/2013/02/04/ali-beatles-1964.jpg
Edit 6-3-16; R.I.P. Ali
https://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/sports/photos/2013/02/04/ali-beatles-1964.jpg
I'm with ya, Bill -- I could probably never get tired of hearing this...  So symphonic, soaring, inspired; packs one hell of a punch, even now...
there are very few 10s in the world. roy orbison .bo didley, chuck berry.......
 4merdj wrote:
"I am leaving, I am leaving
but the fight still remains!"
knot in my throat ...

 
actually "the fighter still remains" which is similar but open to more interpretation. Great song, great album.
The only reason it's not godlike is no God could make a song this good
 paradisepig wrote:
Has to be a 10 ...it just has ...don't argue...{#Notworthy}

 
No argument here
big stud Romeo Tuma wrote:
as good as it gets...  and what a truly great album...
 

I be the holy ghost of big stud Romeo Tuma...  time flies when we're having fun...  love this song...
 
Great album from a great pop music time!
I might get tired of hearing this song some day.
 
A brilliant album - originally released in January, 1970, not 1969 as indicated above.

This is the last album they recorded together before splitting up.  What a way to go out - in a brilliant flash of pure musical genius.

One of the reasons this album sounds so good is that many of the instruments were played by four members of the famous "Wrecking Crew" - Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel, Joe Osborn and Gary Coleman.
Has to be a 10 ...it just has ...don't argue...{#Notworthy}
 ziakut wrote:
I absolutely love, love, love the folksy innocence of the beginning...leading into the la la la...part...and then the accompaniment becomes ominous and eerie all the while...keeping the happy "la la la la" at the end....then it returns to innocence again at the end....just *sigh* perfect!!! From an "8" to a rare...."10".

 

Yep......me too. Is in my top 10's
I absolutely love, love, love the folksy innocence of the beginning...leading into the la la la...part...and then the accompaniment becomes ominous and eerie all the while...keeping the happy "la la la la" at the end....then it returns to innocence again at the end....just *sigh* perfect!!! From an "8" to a rare...."10".
"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." Strikes some truth in the words on music from RP listeners. What a classic. Easy 10.
 rdo wrote:

Yeah, isn't it funny how you can have great power in a song without thunderous bass, huge amps, big hair, and screeching guitars?
On second thought, I may have to reconsider the part about big hair.  

Apparently, Paul and Art eventually reconsidered their hair options too.
s&g
 handyrae wrote:
Nick Drake's Cello Song, followed by the Indigo Girls' Galileo, followed by S&G's The Boxer. Is Bill trying to prove just how pedestrian the Indigo Girls really are?
 
interesting....the same mix just played today
this was the first record album that i ever bought with my own money. i know every note of every song to this day... love it.
 slieve wrote:
This is one of the songs that made millions of people sit up and listen to music
 
This cut is a contender for "Best Folk Song Ever Recorded".  It would be a hands-down winner if Simon had resisted the over-orchestrated and far, far too long ending.  Still a terrific cut, some of Simon's best lyrics.
This is one of the songs that made millions of people sit up and listen to music
Nick Drake's Cello Song, followed by the Indigo Girls' Galileo, followed by S&G's The Boxer. Is Bill trying to prove just how pedestrian the Indigo Girls really are?
Chills.
 arserocket wrote:
God they were good
 
dig it
 lily34 wrote:
i adore this. so powerful.
 
Yeah, isn't it funny how you can have great power in a song without thunderous bass, huge amps, big hair, and screeching guitars?
On second thought, I may have to reconsider the part about big hair.  
 nagsheadlocal wrote:
Takes me back to high school, sitting at my desk late at night, listening to the NYC stations. One of the songs that convinced me that there was a big, wide world out there.
 
Me too. Now that I'm old and live in California I can see that my vision about the 'wide world' was pretty much bulls*it. But the sun will come out later and the pretty young girls will promenade and it will all seem to make sense and somehow be OK.
I'm having a Simon & Garfunkle sort of day. Hope it picks up a little — maybe to a 'Paul Simon sort of day' would be good.
One of the alltime classics!
 Flipmode wrote:
did you all hear the cover of this song by Mumford & Sons? not bad - but I prefer this version
 
You mean did I hear it after I punched a hole into the PSD button? No, I didn't hear it.
The 15 "1" votes must be jokes.  If not, please stand and be recognized and EXPLAIN YOURSELVES!
Takes me back to high school, sitting at my desk late at night, listening to the NYC stations. One of the songs that convinced me that there was a big, wide world out there.
did you all hear the cover of this song by Mumford & Sons? not bad - but I prefer this version
The perfect 10.
I love the chorus, rifle blast included
God they were good
 Snoopy2 wrote:

Yup {#Jump}
 
absolutely incredible...
"I am leaving, I am leaving
but the fight still remains!"
knot in my throat ...
 ziakut wrote:
Great tune! I have always liked the la, la, la di da part.
 
Same here
Great tune! I have always liked the la, la, la di da part.
 romeotuma wrote:


as good as it gets...  and what a truly great album...

 
 
Yup {#Jump}
i adore this. so powerful.


marvelous song...  love this whole album...

 


as good as it gets...  and what a truly great album...

 
 FooledAgain wrote:

That's weird! I've ALSO heard it 12,446 times, and also am not tired of it, and it's a 10 in my book too!
 
Strange, I would be content with another 12, 446 times and it's a 10 for me as well.  
Enough already!
 Stratocaster wrote:
Even though I've heard this song 12,446 times, I am still not tired of it.  A well deserved 10 for me.
 
That's weird! I've ALSO heard it 12,446 times, and also am not tired of it, and it's a 10 in my book too!


Even though I've heard this song 12,446 times, I am still not tired of it.  A well deserved 10 for me.


Everybody in my hotel room loves this song...



 
wow...my little tube amp just ....absolutely....loved....that.
Another great album cover simply because it represents their relationship so well, Garfunkle looks sooo pissed!
this song breaks my heart.
 nagsheadlocal wrote:
I remember hearing this for the first time and being captivated by Paul's guitar work - I had not previously realized he was such a gifted instrumentalist. 
 
He's a very talented finger picking guitarist.  Not a bad songwriter either. {#Wink}
 LizK wrote:
Is it a better hairstyle on the (hair=thining) Paul than a mormon missionary moustache on Art?  
A 10


 
kaybee wrote:
How DARE you insult the great Simon & Garfunkel.  Seriously, thanks for my morning laugh, Proclivities!  {#Roflol}{#Lol} {#Roflol}

 
Proclivities wrote:

This file has a better view of Art's moustache:
s&g

Brilliant song, by the way.
 
 
 
Art was always shy about that mustache
Is it a better hairstyle on the (hair=thining) Paul than a mormon missionary moustache on Art?  
A 10


 
kaybee wrote:
How DARE you insult the great Simon & Garfunkel.  Seriously, thanks for my morning laugh, Proclivities!  {#Roflol}{#Lol} {#Roflol}

 
Proclivities wrote:

This file has a better view of Art's moustache:
s&g

Brilliant song, by the way.
 
 


The way that the "lie lie lie"...just softly lifts up, it seems so angry at first, but it ends so softly, so sadly... and that acoustic thing at the end....How did he think of that? The whole sense of longing....Genius song writing, as usual.

"I am leaving! I am leaving. But the fighter still remains." Genius. 

 Ballzak wrote:
Funniest damn memory of this song.... Kindergarten at my daughters hippie school years ago and a very cute little four-year-old said she had a song to lead the class in.  Next thing you know she burst into song with all the little cute smiling faces sitting round staring and singing along where they could.  All these adorable, impressionable young kids singing this wonderful song...  Then I, Mr. Responsible Papa remember the line about "... just a come on from the Whores on 7th Avenue..." and I'm thinking, "is she going to hit that line word for word" and "am I going to be able to keep a straight face if she does?"

She did, I didn't. 
 
{#Roflol}

By the way, a very well told story!!!
 Proclivities wrote:

This file has a better view of Art's moustache:
s&g

Brilliant song, by the way.

 
I've laughed myself into hiccups... I hate you. I love you.  I think I need therapy now.

Funniest damn memory of this song.... Kindergarten at my daughters hippie school years ago and a very cute little four-year-old said she had a song to lead the class in.  Next thing you know she burst into song with all the little cute smiling faces sitting round staring and singing along where they could.  All these adorable, impressionable young kids singing this wonderful song...  Then I, Mr. Responsible Papa remember the line about "... just a come on from the Whores on 7th Avenue..." and I'm thinking, "is she going to hit that line word for word" and "am I going to be able to keep a straight face if she does?"

She did, I didn't. 
double ten.
This has been a 10 ever since the very first time I heard it back in my RP (radio programming) days.  It still is.  One of the best that will always rank at the very top of my list.  Simply none better.

 keller1 wrote:
If you look at the 60 highest rated songs on RP, these guys are vying with the Beatles, Hendrix and Pink Floyd for the highest overall ratings. 

Amazing.
 
I just commented on that to my wife. Refreshing, gives me hope for humanity :)
Just because something is/was popular, don't mean it ain't good! 
 Proclivities wrote:

This file has a better view of Art's moustache:
s&g

Brilliant song, by the way.

 
I will never listen to this song or see this album cover the same way again. {#Roflol}
I remember hearing some interview with Art where he described all they went through to get this "exploding kettle drum" sound. very distinct and effective.


This song is soooo good for the heart...



Simply one of the greatest songs (and you just gotta disregard any category, yes?) ever written—impeccably arranged and produced, and performed to perfection.
 imklammer wrote:
Was this meant as a theme for the film Midnight Cowboy (both released in 1969?)
 
....where the city winters are'nt bleeding me, that's what you mean, isn't it?

Fittingly chilling...  As the Indigo Girls "Galileo" was fading out, I thought of S&G's impeccable harmonies and acoustic arrangements...and lo and behold, Bill/ Rebecca got them on next; and a very representative track, too.
All Hail RP!  A Wizard, a True Magician! and I dig it eternally!
Was this meant as a theme for the film Midnight Cowboy (both released in 1969?)
How DARE you insult the great Simon & Garfunkel.  Seriously, thanks for my morning laugh, Proclivities!  {#Roflol}{#Lol} {#Roflol}

 
Proclivities wrote:

This file has a better view of Art's moustache:
s&g

Brilliant song, by the way.

 


 katiediddler wrote:


I third the notion.

 
I move the fourth-tion {#Devil_pimp}
 lemmoth wrote:


Ditto
 

I third the notion.

 teapot wrote:
This is one of the best songs ever written. Amazing.
 

Ditto
 salice wrote:
Sounds like a duck is singing the chorus through my crappy PC speakers.

That is an enormous moustache Art has on the record cover
 
This file has a better view of Art's moustache:
s&g

Brilliant song, by the way.

yep, one of the best.

{#Notworthy}
It does not get better than this.
If you look at the 60 highest rated songs on RP, these guys are vying with the Beatles, Hendrix and Pink Floyd for the highest overall ratings. 

Amazing.

Sounds like a duck is singing the chorus through my crappy PC speakers.

That is an enormous moustache Art has on the record cover
I agree, with Rooney . Fantastic lyrics and structure.
(hey Rooney, do you own the Steelers?)

 
Rooney wrote:

Masterful, masterful, masterful lyrics from the Poet Laureate of my day.  "I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.," still brings tears to my eyes.  Thanks boys for the memories.


 


Masterful, masterful, masterful lyrics from the Poet Laureate of my day.  "I am leaving, I am leaving, but the fighter still remains.," still brings tears to my eyes.  Thanks boys for the memories.


 Nat wrote:
I'm sharing a moment with my 7 month old daughter and wondering if in forty years this song will mean as much to her as it does to me now.
 
I knew all the lyrics on this (my very first as a teenager) LP.  Later, I sang my babies to sleep w/ this lullaby about poverty, violence and "the whores on seventh Avenue"!!!  They're grown now, and seem no worse for it. My first grandchild is on the way now, and this song will be in the rocking chair rotation once again!

I remember hearing this for the first time and being captivated by Paul's guitar work - I had not previously realized he was such a gifted instrumentalist. 
This is one of the best songs ever written. Amazing.
The gods sing. ;-)  Clearly Godlike as popular opinion says. ;-)
Yes Bill.  A perfect song.
Very nice!
 vit wrote:
Is that a didgeridoo in the left speaker in the beginning?
 
I believe it's a larger (perhaps bass) harmonica.


Love this tune. Pertinent and powerful.