What does The Sound of Silence mean?

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Simon & Garfunkel: The Sound of Silence Meaning


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Song Released: 1965

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

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The Sound of Silence Lyrics

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...

  1. anonymous
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    Feb 14th 2010 report

    The song is about his wifes breakdown. She is trapped in silence and darkness where he cannot reach her. He is describing how he thinks she feels trapped in her own mind

  2. anonymous
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    May 21st 2009 report

    I don't see the song in anyway as being drug related but rather lonliness and being open and real. Jesus and his cousin John the Baptist for example spoke directly from the heart with everyone and played no mind games. Can you Imagine being in a room with a wild bunch of people who are competitive,two faced,business minded,sports minded, earthly people and then you or I who they know comes in and says hey your all gods creations and hang in there because god loves you and the sun will shine. I don't care what your status is in this life because I love you anyways. They would all think your nuts and feel embarrassed for you but deep down we need this kind of talk and when your alone with little or no sound you become deep in thought and not fake.

  3. m320753
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    Oct 23rd 2008 report

    The sound of silence; did you ever want to be left alone for a while to clear your and as you sit in your dark room or in your yard looking at the moon, your mind seems to relax every time you do such things so yeah Hello darkness my old friend I've come to talk with you again. Sounds almost like the beginning of self counseling or therapy?the rest of this classic song is probably what he was almost dreaming about as he was sitting there enjoying the silence. The verses may be memories he is thinking about or maybe encounters he has had and in a moment of self examination he tells himself that he while being a great writer the real signs ofmusical genious is written on the wall of the subways by graffiti artists

  4. bonincf
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    Oct 16th 2008 report

    I believe that this song was written in the 60's and was about the times then when a person, man or woman was lonely that needed and wanted a friend to talk to other than to just talk in general, to deeply talk and discuss personal things that might be troubling them without having to go to see a shrink. I'm not referring to a gay person seeking a mate, just another straight person to talk to. But back then you could be in a shopping mall of 10 thousand people or more, people talking but not speaking, hearing but not listening, and if you were a stranger and went up to just one person or group of people and tried to talked other then general, you would be given the cold shoulder and be told to leave. Today is worse.

  5. mensoelrey
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    Oct 2nd 2008 report

    You are kind of right but missing one big thing. The society Simon envisions is a dictatorship. Not Hitler's dictatorship exactly; more just any dictatorship. And a dictatorship silences the people but really it is the people who have silenced themselves by communicating less and less. There are still prophets, but no one will listen to them so they write their words on subway walls and tenement halls, where, perhaps, future generations will read them and act. But until then, the people will bow and pray to their pointless gods and not listen because it is pointless.

  6. anonymous
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    May 16th 2008 report

    Prefer the nuclear holocaust interpretation, myself. Seemed pretty clear, even the first time I heard it. A lack of communication, perhaps, but with consequences more dire than the usual S&G lyrics.

    ...words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls/ surely referring to the apocalptic predictions spelled out in graffiti.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  7. anonymous
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    Feb 22nd 2008 report

    "A societal view of the lack of communication."

    -Paul Simon on this song

  8. anonymous
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    Jan 18th 2008 report

    The best interpretation of this song I have ever come to the conclusion of was one of a atomic bomb. The bomb of course being the "neon light" referred to in the song. What's most interesting is later on when it speaks of how "the people bowed and prayed to the neon god they made". The cold war and even today, we revere it as the strongest form of arsenal a country can possess. A simple explanation...but still carrying the depth of sages

  9. anonymous
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    Dec 31st 2007 report

    I heard the whole idea for this song came from a dream that Paul simon had. In the dream he claimed that he could see hundreds of people talking but could not hear what they were saying.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  10. anonymous
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    Aug 14th 2007 report

    Well, first of all this song is definitely about lack of communication between mankind. I think he calls darkness as "old friend" referring to the beginning of humanity when there was darkness and it all started with light (Bible). So this means that mankind destroying itself, maybe not physically but spiritually.

  11. AlfreRH
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    Aug 8th 2007 report

    This song is talking about the movie, the graduate, in witch he talks with mrs Robinson in the darkness, that is one of the parts, of it the others I really don´t get them.

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  12. anonymous
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    Jun 21st 2007 report

    This song actually is about the nation after the death of John Kennedy. The line about ten thousand people I believe is talking about the funeral and the line about the neon god that the people had made I believe is John Kennedy himself. The music in this song is beautiful.

  13. linksysman2000
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    Apr 3rd 2007 report

    The first verse is about a man who sees the wrongs in the world, but can do nothing about it, and seeks refuge, but finds none, thus there is “darkness” for him, and it isn’t the first time, because he calls darkness his “old friend”. This man wants change the world, and has a vision “planted in his brain” that still remains.
    In his dreams, he is along in his vision, and he walks alone in all lonely places that he refers to, such as cobblestones and at night underneath a street lamp. Left to himself and his vision, he has his revelation, which I think is this “neon light” he is talking about. In this vision, he sees that there are thousands of people, maybe more, talking without speaking. They talk, but they really mean nothing, because they are empty. The same goes for their communications, because they hear, but take no heed, and though they try to share what they go through by means of music, no one is speaking or listening, so their voices are never shared. And yet no one dares to change this situation, and no one disturbs the silence of that lack of communication.
    The man tries to tell people of what he sees, and understands enough to at least explain this vision of his, but like before, no one listens. Soon, people creates their own image and gods, whether it be money or fame or power, and bow to their idols and do whatever it took to worship their gods. The last part is that the truth is revealed to this man, that the future is really under the city, buried from all the coldness of a lack of communication, and the same goes for tenements, where people live so close but yet so far away. That is the future, because people are cold and will remain that way because they refuse to change or even reconsider.

  14. AshleyForever7
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    Jan 7th 2007 report

    It took me forever to figure this out, but I think I got it. In 7th grade, my literature teacher made us listen to this song everyday and discuss what it meant. We were studying the Holocaust at the time. I think this song is about Hitler and his impact on the people. When the song says "people hearing without listening" means that they heard what Hitler was telling them to do, but they really werent interpreting it. Where it says "hello darkness my old friend" I think that means that all the people in the camps were so used to being in the dark that it was nothing new to them. This may be wrong, but its what I think. I love this song by the way. :)

    This interpretation has been marked as poor. view anyway
  15. JonahFalcon
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    May 19th 2006 report

    As with many Simon & Garfunkel songs, The Sounds of Silence is about lack of communication on many levels - between lovers, friends, society in general.

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