Simon & Garfunkel — The Boxer
Album: Bridge Over Troubled Water
Avg rating:
9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 2097
Ratings histogram:
Released: 1969
Length: 5:08
Plays (last 30 days): 1
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 (291)add comment
 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.  http://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.  http://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. 


http://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:

http://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.  
http://www.cbc.ca/gfx/images/sports/photos/2013/02/04/ali-beatles-1964.jpg
Edit 6-3-16; R.I.P. Ali
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?