What does The Sound of Silence mean?

Search Login

Simon & Garfunkel: The Sound of Silence Meaning


No tags, suggest one.

Song Released: 1965

Covered By: Bananarama (2009), Disturbed (2015)

Get "The Sound of Silence" on MP3:

Get MP3 from Amazon
Get MP3 from iTunes

The Sound of Silence Lyrics

Play "The Sound of Silence"
on Amazon Music

Hello darkness, my old friend,
I've come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence.

In restless...


    click a star to vote
    Oct 11th, 2016 10:22am report

    Ok here it goes. Art Garfunkle in an interview clearly stated it was about the inability of people to communicate, not in terms of plain languge, or international issues, but rather spiritualy and emotionaly. The result being, an inability to love one another. Paul Simon on the other hand literaly said, I dont actualy know. I wrote my parts on several occassions, while sitting in the dark, in the bathroom of my parents house, while playing my guitar. So it seems to me that while Paul was speaking in one type of medaphore, art clearly took it to another level. As to it being about politicians lying, and people speaking hollow words, that would indeed fit into the notion that while we can speak the same language, our spoken words amount to no worthwhile communication at all. Regarding our false idols, this is easy enough to interperate, as humans have done this for centuries. Now adays rather than a golden lamb, it is more likely to be pro athletes, movie stars, music stars, etc. So in a nutshell, while paul may not have originaly intended this to be such an altruistic message, art managed to turn it into one that will ring true for a long time to come. We are like sheep allowing our government to control us and remove our liberties, and we follow them to the slaughter. We are also like sheep in that few of us practice critical thinking, and as a result most fall prey not only to poloticians, but the corporate whores who sell us all the debauchery we can consume., and consume we do. With that in mind, this song is every bit as powerful and purposful today as when it was first released, if not more so.


    click a star to vote
    Mar 16th, 2011 3:33am report

    This may be coming from a generation to far into the distant future to understand the feelings of the time, but here it goes:

    The first stanza Simon refers to darkness as being his "old friend" that he came to talk with because he was awoken in the middle of the night, of a nightmare that still lingers in his head, that gives his a considerable amount of distress. So bad that the awful visions were still flashing before his eyes as he is awake.

    Second stanza begins setting the scene in which the dream took place: at night, him walking along the cobblestone road where he stops below the light of a streetlight. The cold chill runs up his back, so he lifts his collar to the "cold and damp." Just then, a blight neon sign lit up, showing that he, in fact, was not alone. But there were "ten thousand maybe more" all gathered in the cold night. The people who are talking, not speaking, are politicians, who are using false words to sway the population to vote for them, never revealing true intentions. The people therefore are hearing are not listening.

    They are taking these words that are spoken to them in plain value, not examining or putting into depth anything that is said. Because of this, as referred to later, these politicians have formed a government that the people in fact voted for and supported until it began to act as a dictatorship. This seems that Simon is making an inditement to a large government that has taken away the freedoms of its people. A future for America it seemed with the rise of government in world affairs as in entered Vietnam. This "future America" has given Americans everything, and has the power the take it all away, hence the people "bow and pray to the neon god they made."

    The Silence that is referred to is the silence of the people, afraid to say anything against the government for fear of death or worse. Simon, or whoever has had this dream, tries to bring people to speak out. Saying "Fools, you do not know, Silence like a cancer grows" that as more are afraid to speak, the more control the government takes and the less anyone will stand up to the new government.

    As all hope is about to be given up, someone steps up and says to the crowd that the future they will hold has been written on the walls of subways and tenement halls. This is because this form of protest can be done anonymously, therefore no one can get in trouble for it. This begins the whispering in the silence of the people, and starts the beginning of a revolt.

    -I hope you enjoyed a younger perspective on this classic song. USMCRIFLEMAN2006


    click a star to vote
    Mar 11th, 2016 3:34am report

    I have meditated on this for a long time. It was the flash of the neon light one day that I got it... Silence is a deep feeling we all have at some time. Some of us allow ourselves to go into a deep depression where we dwell on the past and place blame on others, the cold and damp... for out lot in life. WE are in this carbon form trying to find the meaning of life. The words of the subway walls, the society trying to tell us WHAT to think instead of HOW to think. To follow blindly.. If we talk to the darkness within ourselves, meditate and stop searching, Allow the light to shine. In the naked light, within myself we become enlightened. The masses of humanity all like myself, searching and not finding... hearing but not listening. Humanity being led by the controlling faction. Not listening to their own soul and thinking for themselves. thinking is hard work, following is easy. And the vision that was planted in my brain still remains, the power of the universe given to me, to shed light on my own soul. Think for my self, stop being led blindly by the controlling faction. Feed my soul with compassion and caring. Whisper the sounds of silence. I have the ability to make my own choice, to be happy and live in the light or continue in the darkness and depression of thinking and feeling as I am "SUPPOSED" to as a sheep dictated by a shepherd society.


    click a star to vote
    Oct 18th, 10:35am report

    Written during the Vietnam war era. Country rent nearly in pieces. Maybe this was Simon and Garfunkel backdrop?


    click a star to vote
    Oct 13th, 10:32pm report

    I believe in God giving visions, and I believe God is telling them that they are putting all of their hopes and dreams on things of this earth instead of things above. You can keep searching for things to make you happy but they don't, and until you make that decision to follow what your soul is really in need of you will still have that sound of silence . The great awakening will be when you have turned your life to the one who made you and find that peace that only God can give.


    click a star to vote
    Oct 1st, 10:04pm report

    Clearly this could be prophetic of the inability to communicate due to our new neon God the cell phone. No one talks and no one listens anymore. They sit in silence and stair into their screens. Spoken words with real meaning are not heard. Just text me.


    click a star to vote
    Aug 30th, 8:03pm report

    he is going to a dark spiritual place.. he is talking to God. Its about peoples abandonment of God. vision of heaven.. people talking without speaking is how spiritual communication takes place. Same as listening. People worshiping neon excitement over God.. His silent teardrops fell on hollow heads/ears


    click a star to vote
    Jul 20th, 7:26pm report

    I always thought that when it says, Hello darkness my old friend, he is talking to a black cup of coffee.


    click a star to vote
    May 29th, 5:45pm report

    Although I have enjoyed reading many of these interpretations of Sound of Silence it is obvious that many of you are over analysing the lyrics, trying to think too deeply, extremely young & far from a product of the times. Both Simon & Garfunkel have many interviews on the subject of this song & not one of you are even close. Keep trying though, it's entertaining to see the youth of today second guess those of us who lived it.


    click a star to vote
    Mar 15th, 2017 3:15am report

    I think it's about silence.


    click a star to vote
    Feb 20th, 2017 2:24pm report

    I think the song is about a man who's living in a society where the government's not allowing freedom of speech and is willing to change that!


    click a star to vote
    Dec 24th, 2016 12:20pm report

    I think the great thing about this song is that it means different things to each person who hears it. It's almost like poetry in a sense. Personally it means that my words fall on deaf ears and no matter what I say nobody listens even though I'm trying to help others. It frustrating but all we can do is try. Simon and garfunkel wrote a great song but if you never heard disturbed sing it your really missing out. I got goose bumps the first time I heard their version. I hope y'all have a GREAT life and always try your best and things will be just fine.


    click a star to vote
    Dec 23rd, 2016 12:28am report

    I think it about tripping on acid and trying to write a good song.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Sep 13th, 2016 9:25pm report

    He is talk about the sound of silince and how it can help you think about your life


    click a star to vote
    May 24th, 2016 5:26am report

    The song could be about communism in China or North Korea.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway


    click a star to vote
    Apr 2nd, 2016 4:10am report

    Sound of silence to me represents silent sound spread spectrum which is a low RF frequency sent via modulated pulses and frequency modulation to send speech to brain mmessages. It is a patented tech being used commercially for self help or affirmation tapes but can be used in a much more sinister wat as a form of electronic harassment. It's users are remote,anonymous and covert. The line "people hearing without listening" illustrates the no conscious defense possible against it


    click a star to vote
    Feb 28th, 2016 2:34pm report

    If you are Ilinformed about what is really going on around you then you are in the "Darkness" an old friend. Most people would rather not know the truth and except what is spoken, words without substance spoken by those in charge. If you are interested in the truth listen and see what is happening in the tenement halls and on subway walls. Sound of Silence is the outcome of remaining in the dark,ignorance that is the loss of our rights and freedom


    click a star to vote
    Dec 27th, 2015 12:43pm report

    The darkness is him going to sleep everything in the song is his dream that's why all the words are silent, they are in his head.

‹ prev 12345

More Simon & Garfunkel song meanings »


Submit Your Interpretation

[ want a different song? ]

Just Posted

Bleeding Out anonymous
Chasing Cars anonymous
Radioactive anonymous
Skin anonymous
Enjoy the Silence anonymous
Advertising Space anonymous
I Took A Pill In Ibiza anonymous
New Moon on Monday anonymous
Thirteen anonymous
Thirteen anonymous
Miss Ghost anonymous
Menswear anonymous
Love On The Brain anonymous
Blue and Yellow anonymous
Lookin' Out My Back Door anonymous

Get a weekly email update

(We won't give out your email)

Latest Releases

What Makes You Country
Luke Bryan
Dirty Sexy Money
David Guetta
No Peace
Sam Smith
21 Savage
Run Up The Racks
21 Savage
One Last Song
Sam Smith
Everything's Gonna Be Alright
David Lee Murphy