Ignored Obscured Restored
Occasionally I hear a song that I liked years ago but have forgotten about because it never receives any “airplay” (whatever that means in 2022). One such song is “Richard Cory” from Simon & Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence (1966) album.
The song, written by Paul Simon, was based on a poem published in 1897 by Edwin Arlington Robinson. Wikipedia summarizes the narrative as “The poem describes a person who is wealthy, well educated, mannerly, and admired by the people in his town. Despite all this, he takes his own life.”
That about sums up the Simon & Garfunkel song except “the song’s ending differs from the poem in that the speaker still wishes he ‘could be Richard Cory’, even after Cory has killed himself.”
Sounds of Silence is largely an acoustic folk album. But on “Richard Cory” Simon is accompanied by Joe South on guitar and Hal Blaine on drums.
Other versions of the S&G song exist. Van Morrison’s band Them released “Richard Cory” in 1966 as a non-album single. Paul McCartney and Wings released a version on Side 3 of their three LP vinyl release of Wings over America (1976) with band member Denny Laine taking the lead vocal.
I hope hearing “Richard Cory” brought back a happy reminder of times past or, if you’ve never heard it before, that you’ve discovered a cool new song.
Enjoy… until next week.
The speaker hates his life and his poverty. In the end, he wishes he were dead – like Richard Cory. But so far he has clung to his will to survive. I think I still have this LP somewhere.