What does Bridge Over Troubled Water mean?

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Simon & Garfunkel: Bridge Over Troubled Water Meaning

Song Released: 1970


Covered By: Aretha Franklin (1971), Michael W Smith (2005), Glee Cast, Clay Aiken (2003)


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Bridge Over Troubled Water Lyrics

When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all (all)
I'm on your side, oh, when times get tough
And friends just can't be found
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down
Like a bridge over...

  1. anonymous
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    Jul 17th 2012 report

    This song is quite spiritual in its meaning and theme for me. As a young person I always heard this song sang in the context of God being there for you in times of trouble, heartache and grief (i.e. He is the bridge that helps you get over the unfortunate times in life). The first verse infers that truth—especially the reference “when you’re weary,” “tears in your eyes” and “friends can’t be found” and continues this reference in the 2nd verse as it refers to someone who will “comfort you” and give you peace in the time of turbulent situations. Nonetheless, the simile “Like a bridge over troubled water” underscores the notion of a man being there to provide abundant peace and comfort to someone he loves who is in need.

  2. anonymous
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    Jun 12th 2012 report

    It's about what half of the songs on the album are about -- the eventual breakup of S&G. "I'll take your part" refers to Simon being there for Artie even if his future acting career doesn't take off. All other references are about being there for each other even though they will be going their separate ways.

  3. anonymous
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    May 4th 2012 report

    this song is about a troubled person that has no one to count on but their is hope somewhere some place, and needs comfort.

  4. anonymous
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    Apr 22nd 2012 report

    This song is about jesus

  5. anonymous
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    Aug 20th 2011 report

    The words "sail on silver girl" refers to his wife, she found some grey hairs on her head and had been freaking out about it. He's not far behind means he's getting old himself..... not heroin..

  6. anonymous
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    Aug 18th 2011 report

    I interpret the song "Bridge Over Troubled Waters" as being about a guy being there for a close friend or family member going through difficult times and who's determined to help see them through it.

  7. anonymous
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    Jun 14th 2011 report

    During an NPR interview with Terry Gross, Simon (Jewish) said this one song came to him in total at once. He also mentioned "from above." Devine intervention?

    The song goes, "I'm on your side
    When times get rough." Who says that in the Bible? Jesus. " I will comfort you.." Jesus again. This from a Jewish song writer is interesting.

    Perhaps Silver Girl is the Holy Spirit. "Your time has come. All your dreams are on their way."

    Many Gospel singers must believe this because there are plenty of Gospel lyric sights with this song included.

    Praise God!!!

  8. anonymous
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    May 26th 2011 report

    I think this song is about being a friend, like a friend is a bridge over troubles that you have in your life. But, that's what I think

  9. anonymous
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    Mar 9th 2011 report

    this song has to do sothing with the 1960's and 70's and what came to my mind was that the bridge was actually ruby briges. her last name matches with the bridge ruby BRIDGES and that always from one side of a bridge is a new beginning
    so as if she starteed off at one side being hated by all white people and ended up being admired and looked up to.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Jan 18th 2011 report

    I agree that it is a love song, pure and simple and one of the best.

  11. m320753
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    Jun 21st 2010 report

    this song maybe one of their best until you remember all the other songs paul has written. i believe this song is about friendship that has surpasssed love. in many marriages your spouse becomes your best friend be it male or female. some of my best friends are women i grew up with iy would be as i think plutonic rather than sexual. just normal every day people you know would be there for you and you for them. it probably is about his wife getting gray hair and being best friends he feels for her. but it leans more to artie i believe who seems to show up at more concerts than you think. friends to the end

  12. jade_years
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    Jun 18th 2010 report

    At the time "silver girl" was a very commonly-used street reference to a heroin syringe. That Paul Simon would choose that exact phrase and have it mean anything other than a heroin syringe is not believable. If you accept this, and read the rest of the lyrics in this context the song makes perfect sense. References to "evening falling hard" and "I'm sailing right behind" make it almost too obvious. Simon refers to heroin as a Best Friend and Savior which comforts him and eases his pain. Anyone who has suffered from depression/addiction will relate to this only too well. The story about his future wife's grey hair just does not ring true, and is out of context with the rest of the song. As police were beginning to crack down on drug use and advocacy by rock musicians during this period, you can understand why Simon would be less than forthcoming about the song's true meaning

  13. anonymous
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    May 21st 2009 report

    The song is definently a sad and yet a beautiful song. When I hear the song and pay attention to the lyrics it seems he's talking about homeless people and I almost think that in the lyric sail on silver girl sail on by etc etc. is about a homeless girl who passed away on the street and is no longer in any kind of pain living in paradise and feeling like a princess. It seems though that in paul simons heart he's reaching out like a rescuer and I'm sure he must of seen some homeless people in new york.

  14. anonymous
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    Feb 15th 2009 report

    I think the 'bridge' over troubled water is representative of him and laying himself down over the troubled waters to help the weary through hard times. I do not think it has anything to do with shooting up. I love this song and I think it has to do with comforting and supporting someone in pain and feeling alone, that they can count on you even when other 'friends just can't be found.' He says 'I'll take your part' not 'i'll tie you off'. The reference of 'sail on silver girl' is very briefly mentioned and nothing else in the song really indicates its about drugs. that seem to be quite a narrow interpretation. Maybe some songs of theirs are about pot, but not shooting up. It is beautifully sung and the piano is heart wrenching undoubtedly. well done simon & garfunkel. I've heard this song over 10,000 times and it will never get old.

  15. confused
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    Jan 20th 2009 report

    I thought 'sail on silver bird' refered to shooting heroin?




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