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Simon & Garfunkel - The Sounds of Silence - Lyrics Meaning

Following the assassination of the 35th American president John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, Paul Simon, half of the folk duo Simon and Garfunkel, wanted to create a song that he felt accurately depicted the emotional turmoil that had spread across the country. The song, written in February of 1964, was "The Sounds of Silence," the track that rocketed the duo to stardom. On New Year's Day of 1966, "The Sounds of Silence" reached number one in the United States. It is said that it took six months for Simon to write the lyrics - he only averaged one line per day. Many believe that the song was written about the Vietnam War because it became popular at the same time and seemed to be a powerful anti-war statement, however Simon's actual theme is man's inability to communicate with his fellow man. The lyrics, which are full of light and dark imagery, speak of "People talking without speaking, people hearing without listening," illustrating people's tendency to be apathetic towards each other. Communication is often only on a very superficial level, symbolized by the "neon god." In this world, no one dares to reach out to anyone else and disrupt the sound of silence.

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