March 16

Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”: Struggles of Loneliness And Poverty

Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Boxer”: Struggles of Loneliness And Poverty 1

“Simon and Garfunkel” is indeed one of the best musical groups in history. Their choice of music is distinctively diverse from other musicians. From the melody of their songs to a very different approach to their lyrics. In other words, the way they create their lyrics truly metaphorical, but it can strike someone’s heart and soul. It can merely be realized to their hits such as “Sound Of Silence” and “The Boxer”. The song portrays the struggles to overcome loneliness and poverty.

The Lyrics’ Interpretation…

The song’s lyrics take the form of a first-person lament. The singer describes his struggles to overcome loneliness and poverty in New York City. Furthermore, the final verse switches to a third-person sketch of a boxer who despite the effects of, every glove that laid him down or cut him till he cried out, the fighter remains.

Moreover, the lyrics are largely autobiographical and partially inspired by the Bible. Also, the ideas were written during a time when Simon was being unfairly criticized.

The chorus of the song is wordless, consisting of an eight-time chant of “lie-la-lie” accompanied by a heavily reverbed drum. It is particularly known for its plaintive refrain.

Simon stated that this was originally intended only as a placeholder, but became part of the finished song.

Facts About The Song…

“The Boxer” is a song by Simon and Garfunkel from their fifth studio album “Bridge over Troubled Water” in 1970. Additionally, it was produced by the duo and Roy Halee and released as the lead single from the album on March 21, 1969.

“The Boxer” was the follow-up to one of the duo’s most successful singles “Mrs. Robinson”. It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It performed well internationally, charting within the Top 10 in nine countries, topped as the highest in the Netherlands, Austria, South Africa, and Canada.

The Evolution Of The Song…

The original recording of the song was one of the duo’s most highly produced and took over 100 hours to record. The recording was performed at multiple locations including Nashville, St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, and Columbia studios in Nashville.

The original version released with features of instrumental melody played in unison on pedal steel guitar and piccolo trumpet. The song also features a bass harmonica, played by Charlie McCoy which during the second and final verses.

The Striking Lyrics…

I am just a poor boy though my story’s seldom told I have squandered my resistance

For a pocket full 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, lie la la la lie lie lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la 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, le le le le le le le

Lie la lie, lie la la la lie lie lie la lie, lie la la la la lie la 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, he carries the reminders

Of ev’ry 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, mmm mmm

If you want to know more about Simon and Garfunkel and listen to their songs then click the links below or visit us at

You may also leave your comments below for the country artists, the legends, and their songs that you would like us to feature.

Behind Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence” is a Screaming Plea!


Simon and Garfunkel, the boxer

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