Rare Simon and Garfunkel: Richard Cory

Paul Simon is one of the finest song writers of the last hundred years. I recently had a bit of a friendly argument on whether Simon’s work is as great as that of the other Paul- Paul McCartney. I say it is. What do you say?

Anyway, I was surfing around Youtube and came across this old performance of Simon and Garfunkel playing their adaptation of the Edwin Arlington Robinson poem “Richard Cory.” (Update: 3/16/07: Unfortunately, this video clip has been removed from YouTube. If anyone is familiar with the original source of the clip, please let me know. Update 05/23/08 it has been reposted, listen while you can!). Though this song is on the second Simon and Garfunkel Album- Sounds of Silence, it as not permeated through the American consciousness as other songs on the album have (such as I am a Rock). Regardless, this is a fine song and arguably the video (now removed) of Simon and Garfunkel surpasses the album version (at least in terms of energy). There is also a Wings version of the song, which I think is inferior. What do you say to that, Sir Paul? 😉

Lyrics to the original poem are below:

by Edwin Arlington Robinson

Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
“Good morning,”
And he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich, yes richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head (via link)

Related Tags: Simon and Garfunkel, Paul Simon, Richard Cory, Wings, Paul McCartney


11 thoughts on “Rare Simon and Garfunkel: Richard Cory

  1. krkbaker says:

    I say Paul Simon could kick Paul McCartney’s a** anyday.

  2. Charlie says:

    In the late 60s there were 3 great pop-rock songwriters, The 2 Pauls & Bobby Z. I am the world’s biggest Beatles fan so to have that statement come from my keyboard is saying a lot. Unfortunately McCartney sunk to unimaginable depths in the 70s with Wings while Simon never lost his muse. As for John Lennon, he was my favorite Beatle but from Revolver onward Paul beat him consistently in the songwriing department. “Eleanor Rigby” may have the finest set of lyrics to ever come from a rock band.

  3. I like the Simon and Garfunkle version more, too. maybe it’s the way they recorded it? But this really helped me with my english homework. ^_^ thank you very much.

  4. Robertco says:

    Will this make my Paul McCartney stocks on trendio rise? http://www.trendio.com/word.php?language=en&wordid=783

  5. Elizabeth says:

    The biggest difference between the poem and the song is that the poem has a 2nd-person speaker (“we”) and then ends with Richard Cory’s suicide, whereas the song has a 1st-person speaker (“I”), and ends the song with the chorus and “I wish that I could be – Richard Cory” AFTER the line about the suicide. In other words, in the song, the message is even more tragic, because the guy originally wants to be like Richard Cory because he seems to have it all, but after Richard Cory kills himself, he still wants to be like Richard Cory: dead.

  6. Mr. T says:

    +I agree. i admired Paul MCcartney and the Beatles, and occasinally Mac would come up witha thoughful inspired piece, like Tug of War, really about a relaltionship, maybe between he and Lennon, written after Lennon’s deth, if you listen to the word carefully, it is really, but could be about your own relationship with a spouse or brother or sister or parent, too. But Simon was amaster of consistency in his efforts to put thought behind his lyrics and not just fit the lyrics to a good melody. Mccartnet neede Lennonto keep him in check and vice versa. lennonhad the edge in his lyrics ehn he was “on.” McCartney could be edgy, but oftn fell back on cutesy instead. Who cares who’s knocking at his door while he writes Silly Love songs? Live and Let Die was excellent, so was Coming up in 1980, and My Love, the ballad. But the other stuff? Ugh………Paul Simon? Still Crazy After All these years, gets a grammy for Graceland in 1986. where is McCartney? no where to be found and he let hmself get ripped off by Michael Jackson for his old Beatles tunes. Still Mac is now a sir and richer than most in publishing and royalties, i still like him but won’t buy his music anymore. Simon even knows when to quit…

  7. anonimo says:

    paul simon is good, but Sir James Paul Mccartney is basically way much better. But , yes I have to agree that the original version is better than the wings’ version, allthough paul wasnt even singing.

  8. johnrunion says:

    SIMON…all the way!

  9. johnrunion says:

    please disregard the previously posted link. it was a mistake. #8 in this thread.

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