Welcome to the second edition of ‘The Original Vs. The Cover”. This month we are highlighting the Simon & Garfunkel classic, “The Sound of Silence” and the best cover version I have ever heard of this song by the Metal band Disturbed. Yes, I said a Metal band. So the Folk version vs. the Metal version.
The song was originally recorded back in 1964 and was titled “The Sounds of Silence”. The song was a folk traditional version and it basically flopped. The song was overdubbed in 1965 without Simon & Garfunkel’s knowledge and some electric instruments were added to give it more a folk rock sound which was big at the time. The song became a hit and Simon & Garfunkel became famous.
The song everyone knows is actually the second version, the folk rock song. Later the song was retitled for some strange reason to “The Sound of Silence” and the ‘s’ was dropped from “Sounds”. Rather odd to me, but what do I know.
The song has one of the best opening lines of any song…”Hello darkness, my old friend / I’ve come to talk with you again”. The way they sing that opening line is kind of eerie and seems to hold so much meaning. And has always made me think about loneliness as that was the overall feeling I got from that verse.
The real meaning of the song is basically talking about the lack of communication between people so that can be a part of loneliness. There is another line “Silence Like a Cancer Grows” is so true even in relationships. I think the theme of the song is what makes it even relevant today. Truer words have never been spoken. The lyrics are at the end of the post and you must read over them.
There is yet another set of lyrics that make me feel this song is relevant today…”And in the naked light I saw / Ten thousand people, maybe more / People talking without speaking / People hearing without listening”…This could easily be talking about people today on their phones & social media that are speaking to people, but not actually talking to anyone. Maybe Paul Simon could see into the future.
The Simon & Garfunkel version is the best with it’s folk sound and simple representation. Lyrically it is amazing and timeless. If I ever want to hear this song, it is their version I will grab as there is no better version.
However, there has been a new version from last year that was probably the best cover I have ever heard of this song. Still not as good as the original, but a damn close second. That version is by the band Disturbed. This heavy metal band is known for doing a cover song on every album and for the album “Immortalized” they chose “The Sound of Silence”.
The Disturbed version is much slower and contains some piano and even added an orchestra. The song tone is much darker and even more eerie than Simon & Garfunkel’s version. Disturbed has pulled out a unique cover that while paying homage to the original also takes it in a new direction all its own. You know it was meant for them to do a cover based on the line in the original at the end of the third verse…”Disturb the sound of silence”.
Their version was so good, even Paul Simon thought so. According to Loudwire.com, Disturbed received a letter from Simon. See below…
Simon stated, “Really powerful performance on Conan the other day. First time I’d seen you do it live. Nice. Thanks.” Draiman responded, “Mr. Simon, I am honored beyond words. We only hoped to pay homage and honor to the brilliance of one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Your compliment means the world to me/ us and we are eternally grateful.”
Whichever version you like best, there is no denying the brilliance of the song. There are an abundance of covers and I have listed them below. Maybe there is one you like better, if so, let me know which ones you prefer. Thanks and have a great day.
Cover Versions by…(from Wikipedia):
- Dutch singer Boudewijn de Groot included a Dutch translation of the song (“Het geluid van stilte”) on his self-titled 1965 debut album.
- In 1966, Spanish rock band Los Mustang recorded a Spanish-language cover of the song, entitled “El Ritmo Del Silencio”.
- Irish trio The Bachelors had a top 10 hit in Ireland (#9) and the UK (#3) with the song in 1966.
- In 1966, South African trumpeter Hugh Masekela included the song to his album Hugh Masekela’s Next Album.
- In 1967, Jamaican reggae bands The Soul Vendors and The Gaylads recorded a cover of the song.
- Mercy released a version of the song on their 1969 album, Love Can Make You Happy.
- Swedish singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad recorded a Swedish-language cover of the song, entitled “En ton av tystnad”, which was featured on her 1971 debut album, Frida.
- Serbian and former Yugoslav acoustic music duo Vlada i Bajka recorded a Serbian language version of the song, “Zvuk tišine”, released on a single in 1971.
- Israeli duo The Parvarim recorded a Hebrew-language version on their 1972 LP The Parvarim Sing Simon & Garfunkel. The lyric was translated by Ehud Manor.
- Los Angeles punk band The Dickies recorded a cover of the song, released on a single in 1978.
- French singer Gérard Lenorman in his 1981 album D’amour, featured a rewritten lyrics of this song, and he named it “Chanson d’innocence”.
- In 1986, Stanley Jordan recorded an instrumental version on his Standards, Vol. 1 album.
- In the late 1980s, The Fools released on the band’s 1987 live album Wake Up… It’s Alive!!!.
- American heavy metal band Heir Apparent covered “The Sound of Silence” 1989 album One Small Voice.
- In 1990, Brazilian singers Leandro e Leonardo covered “The Sound of Silence”, re-written as the love song “É Por Você que Canto” (“It is For You That I Sing”).
- In 1996, Filipino singer Regine Velasquez interpolated the song as a “Prologue” and an “Epilogue” for her album Retro.
- In 1996, Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini covered “The Sound of Silence”.
- In 1997, South African metal band The Awakening covered “The Sound of Silence” on their debut album Risen.
- In 1999, Gregorian covered “The Sound of Silence” on their album Masters of Chant.
- In 2000, Atrocity covered “The Sound of Silence” on their EP Sounds of Silence.
- In 2000, Nevermore covered “The Sound of Silence” on their album Dead Heart in a Dead World.
- In 2005, Italian singer Andrea Parodi, together with American guitarist Al Di Meola,
- Italian classical singer Michéal Castaldo recorded an Italian version of this song on his 2010 album Aceto.
- In 2007, rock duo Shaw Blades covered “The Sound of Silence” on their second album, Influence.
- In 2007, New Zealand singer Brooke Fraser, released a live cover version on the deluxe edition of her album Albertine.
- In 2008, the band Ascension of the Watchers covered “The Sound of Silence” on their album Numinosum.
- In 2009, Bananarama covered “The Sound of Silence” on their tenth album Viva as an iTunes bonus track.
- In 2010, Polish singer Ania Dąbrowska covered “The Sound of Silence” on her album “Ania Movie”.
- In 2010, Sharleen Spiteri covered “The Sound of Silence” on her album The Movie Songbook.
- In 2010, Sufjan Stevens included lyrics from “The Sound of Silence” in his song “All Delighted People” from the album of the same name.
- In 2010, the duo Peixoto & Maxado recorded a smooth ska version of “The Sound of Silence” on their album “I Wanna Shoyu”
- In 2011, Phil and Tim Hanseroth covered “The Sound of Silence” on Brandi Carlile’s album Live at Benaroya Hall with the Seattle Symphony.
- In 2011 Kina Grannis covered “The Sound of Silence” on the deluxe edition of her album Stairwells.
- In 2011, jazz guitarist Pat Metheny opened on his Grammy Award-winning solo cover album What It’s All About with “The Sound of Silence”.
- On August 30 of 2011, Bobaflex released Hell In My Heart with their version of “The Sound of Silence” as track 15.
- Two of Celtic Thunder’s principal singers Keith Harkin and Colm Keegan covered the song for their 2013 album Mythology.
- In 2013, husband-wife duo Jenny & Tyler recorded the song as a part of their cover album For Freedom.
- In 2015, Allison covered “The Sound of Silence” for the soundtrack in the 2015 French television series L’Emprise.
- In 2015, James Blake covered “The Sound of Silence” and released the track on his official YouTube channel.
- British musician Passenger regularly plays the song live following his own song “Riding To New York”.
- In 2016, American Idol finalist Dalton Rapattoni covered the song on Top 5 night.
- A cover of this song was used on the TV series Timeless.
- In 2016, the movie Trolls featured a cover in its entirety by Anna Kendrick.
- In 2017, Jew in the City released a music video covering “The Sound of Silence” featuring The Maccabeats
“The Sound Of Silence”
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
Within the sound of silenceIn restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a streetlamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silenceAnd in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
No one dare
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools” said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words like silent raindrops fell
And echoed in the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said “The words of the prophets
Are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls
And whispered in the sounds of silence”