Song of the Day #2,566: ‘The Boxer’ – Simon & Garfunkel

simon_garfunkel_central_parkA couple of months back I took a look at my birth year, 1972, counting down my favorite album releases and then featuring songs from acclaimed ’72 albums I haven’t heard.

I liked the yearly snapshot thing enough to make it a regular feature on the blog. But rather than move on to 1973, I’m going to jump around the decades a bit. For the next few weeks I’ll focus on 1982.

Same format as before. First I’ll count down my five favorite 1982 albums, then I’ll write about cuts from ten albums I don’t know (or don’t know well).

In the #5 position is Simon & Garfunkel’s The Concert in Central Park. I generally shy away from live albums for lists like this, and in general, but this one is an exception. It chronicled the surprise reunion of one of the great 60s acts in a most dramatic setting.

News of the pairing was kept under wraps until just a week before the show, and the result was a massive audience turnout of a half million fans.

The concert wasn’t without its hiccups. A fan rushed the stage during a performance of ‘The Late Great Johnny Ace,’ perhaps offended by the reference to the recently murdered John Lennon. And Garfunkel had a little trouble keeping track of Simon’s musical and lyrical departures on their old classics.

Garfunkel wasn’t well-rehearsed on the slower pace of ‘The Boxer,’ for example, as you’ll hear him start into the second verse here before he’s supposed to.

But those flaws made the event, and this recording, somehow more special — the opposite of pre-packaged.

Simon and Garfunkel wouldn’t release another album of new performances for 20 years (when they put out a live disc chronicling their ‘Old Friends’ reunion tour). This one has certainly stood the test of time.

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 jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest

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…

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

Now the years are rolling by me
They are rocking evenly
I am older than I once was
But younger than I’ll be
That’s not unusual
No, it isn’t strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same

Lie la 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
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains
Yes, he still remains

Lie la lie…

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #2,566: ‘The Boxer’ – Simon & Garfunkel

  1. Dana says:

    I remember watching this concert on TV and being blown away at the notion of a half million people gathering in Central Park for such an event! Simon & Garfunkel did not disappoint and the album nicely captures the spirit and specialness of the night.

  2. Peg says:

    This was an amazing event, and this is one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel songs. Like the blog idea, any reason you picked 1982?

  3. Andrea Katz says:

    I am not a big fan of live albums with this very notable exception!

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