Monday, June 11, 2018

Music Monday ~ A Rock with Glass Half Empty

Casting around for something musical and apt for today, 11 June, led me to the fact that on 11 June in 1966 "I Am A Rock" by Paul Simon, the version recorded with Garfunkel, peaked in the charts at #3.

Hmm. "I Am a Rock" isn't one of the most played of their many superb recordings these days. Paul Simon wrote the song, it was first released in 1965, and is a rather glum affair about isolation and deliberate emotional detachment. It was first performed by Simon alone as the opening track on his album The Paul Simon Songbook which he originally recorded and released in August 1965, only in the United Kingdom. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, as the American folk rock duo Simon and Garfunkel, re-recorded it on December 14, 1965, and included as the final track on their album Sounds of Silence, which they released on January 17, 1966.

"I Am A Rock"

A winter's day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow
I am a rock
I am an island

I've built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain.
It's laughter and it's loving I disdain.
I am a rock
I am an island..........

......And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries.

The theme of the song is the exact opposite of Garth Brooks' lovely composition "The Dance", wherein he claims that if he hadn't felt "the pain" he wouldn't have had the wonderful experience of "The Dance" (the good times). Another such theme is found in a song recorded by Ronnie Milsap,
"I Wouldn't Have Missed It For the World

Our paths may never cross again
Maybe my heart will never mend
But I'm glad for all the good times
Cause you've brought me so much sunshine
And love was the best it's ever been
I wouldn't have missed it for the world
Wouldn't have missed loving you girl
You've made my whole life worth while, with your smile
I wouldn't trade one memory
Cause you mean too much to me
Even though I lost you girl
I wouldn't have missed it for the world.....

It's akin to the much clichéd "glass half full, glass half empty".

Something which will sound like blasphemy to most Simon & Garfunkel fans: the duo's version of the "I Am a Rock" was - well - in the style expected of them back in the 1960s. Listening to it now though, to my ear, it's lacking the required emotion. Same applied to their Sound of Silence, to a lesser degree. That song really opened up for me when I first heard the version by "Disturbed".

Wow! That's how it needs to be sung in 2018!

When will someone sing "I Am a Rock" as it needs to be sung in 2018? "Disturbed" could do it.

Here's a creditable cover version by Joe Paulik. It's getting there, or could be with a little help from recording/arranging maestros etc. I imagine it, ideally, sung by a deeper, resonant voice though.


Wisewebwoman said...

Undying fan, I feel they saved my life way back when I was, let's say, not even close to the place I'm in now.

Fan of Disturbed. Posted that many times on FB. Never more potent than today.


Twilight said...

Wisewebwoman~ Most of Paul Simon's songs are true classics, and the duo's style was just right for their time. Because the high quality of his compositions is so solid, the songs can lend themselves to different interpretations (when someone is brave enough!) Some of the Beatles' songs are like that too.