Silence like a cancer grows

Did you know that Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was a response to JFK’s assassination? I didn’t.

12 comments

  1. Nathaniel Heidenheimer says:

    Me neither. The Cancer has grown into a National Security State so strong and that elections have become meaningless, or, worse, a means by which the National Security State inserts wedge issues into the body politic.

  2. I did not know that. “The Sound of Silence” would be like “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He died and why it matters.”

    James Douglass has put another tag line on his book cover: “He Chose Peace. They Marked him for Death.”

    “Silence like a cancer grows.” Yep, if the truth about the JFK assassination had been acted on, their is absolutely no way LBJ could have prosecuted the Vietnam War. LBJ probably would not have been there for the attack on the USS Liberty. A whole generation of youth probably would not have been radicalized in response to the warmongers and anti-democratic forces in power.

    http://www.lyricsdepot.com/simon-garfunkel/sounds-of-silence.html

    “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 dreams I walked alone
    Narrow streets of cobblestone
    ‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
    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 silence

    And 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
    And no one dared
    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”

  3. PLV says:

    Since we’re on the subject of music, I’ve wondered if the gods were trying to restore cosmic balance as “With the Beatles,” the band’s second record, was released on 11,22,63 in Great Britain.

    • Dan says:

      An obit for Mike Wallace said that he did the first US reporting on the Beatles for the CBS morning show on 11/22/63. His report was schedued to run on the CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite that evening, but was shelved after the assassination. The story ran on the evening news several weeks later.

  4. Paul Turner says:

    “The vision…that was planted in my brain…still remains”. Could those lyrics have described the work of the Warren Commission? If so, what it means to me is that their “vision” was that LHO was the only shooter, but today there is some doubt about that.

  5. Yarimbo says:

    It has nothing to do with JFK those were all theories. They explained that the sound of silence was when he went to the bathroom turn off the lights and concentrate often played in the dark on an echoing room. Please research before posting.

    • Roy W Kornbluth says:

      In poetry, there are double entendres, even triple. And there’s poetic ambiguity. True, the young Paul Simon loved picking, strumming and singing in the bathroom. Everyone sounds good in the bathroom; it’s amplified and all that echo drowns out the off-key. PS liked practicing in the dark because he couldn’t see the fret-board, had to play by feel and finger-memory, as any accomplished guitarist must do to some degree.

      As for “nothing to do with JFK” — that’s hard to believe. He started writing it end of November 1963, took him a long time to finish it. Somewhere I saw an old interview and he said he averaged a line or less a day on it, I think it was a few months before he had the final version. PS is notoriously loath to explain the “meaning” of his songs because they are supposed to stand on their own.

      What I got from the song: People can become insensate from too much bad anything, trauma or tragedy or deprivation. Too bright a light makes us blind, too loud a noise (like the gunfire) makes us deaf. I think the song is about Jackie Kennedy on auto-pilot when she climbed out on the trunk. She didn’t remember it, probably didn’t hear anything or see anything except for the chunk from her husband’s head she picked up, using only her pin-prick tunnel vision. Was Paul Simon thinking that? Probably not, but the Cosmic Muse has a way of inspiring those who are prepared.

  6. Yes, the Song is about the JFK assassination, as are many other songs from Rock and Roll like “Jack Straw” from the Grateful Dead. Sometimes it’s just one line in a song. As Bo Diddly I used to say, “Every line in a Blues Song,means something every time it’s played”. Al Stewart, Paul Simon’s ex roommate in London’s Soho area back when Paul was Tom and Jerry, wrote a song about RFK’s assassination called “Electric Los Angeles Sunset” it’s worth a Listen…..

    Many rock and Roll songs have entire other story lines hidden in Their “Time Code”…

    The Song “Out in the Cold” By Tom Petty is very interesting listen for JFK researchers too. “Standing in a Doorway…. Hands in My Pocket…. Out in the Cold….. Walking around”

    You could say “Wooden Ships” was also about the Kennedy assassination too and it’s aftermath…..

    Their are several pictures of Oswald before he got in the Rambler, that have been seized by the FBI in the files….. or their used to be….. Some are still in Private Collections….

    • ed connor says:

      Willy, I have searched the web for something to connect “Jack Straw” with 11/22.
      It appears that Bob Wier, who wrote the song with Robert Hunter, was working from “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck. That’s what he said, anyway.
      I was always curious about another Dead song, “Uncle John’s Band.”
      Attending college in those Viet Nam times, I wondered if “Uncle John” referred to JFK, and he had “come to take his children home” referred to RFK and the others who opposed LBJ’s crazy human sacrifice in southeast Asia.
      In the end, artists paint their works and viewers ponder their meaning. It has been that way since the Mona Lisa, or maybe the Iliad.

      • Well Ed,

        The Next Time I call Barlow,WIER, Hunter or Chemetti, or bump into then I will ask if your recent awakening to the Grateful Dead’s Archive is Disturbing either the Matrix or the Borg…. and See What other crumbs I could Throw you…. Some of those Dick’s Pick’s Have Post Stamp covers, You Know Phil Lesh used to be a Postal Carrier in Berkeley. HE also did some Multi Level Marketing and Might be a part Time Postal Inspector….. He was Born on the Ides of March Dude….. The Same Day I went into the Air Force, Not the Date. The Day….

        CheerRio

        Happy Trails

        Willy

  7. Max says:

    If we’re talking Rock n’ Roll … Sympathy For the Devil – Beggars Banquet

    The Rolling Stones began recording Sympathy for the Devil on June 4, 1968.

    Lyrics included: I shouted out, who killed Kennedy?

    On June 5, 1968 RFK was assassinated.

    The Stones went back into the studio and changed the words to:

    I shouted out, who killed the Kennedys?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

In seeking to expand the range of informed debate about the events of 1963 and its aftermath, JFKFacts.org welcomes comments that are factual, engaging, and civil. more

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.