My Top 1000 Songs #647: The Boxer

[I've been writing up my Top 1000 songs on a daily basis--you can see them all in descending order by hitting the All My Favorite Songs tag.] 

Simon & Garfunkel's 1970 Bridge Over Troubled Water was another one on the short list of 8-track tapes my father had when I was a little kid, and one of the closer ones to actual rock music. It was a nice change from Herb Alpert and Henry Mancini and the like but, nonetheless, Simon & Garfunkel were among the artists I cast aside once I discovered Top 40 radio a few years later (followed by classic rock, prog, punk, etc.), finding them hopelessly associated with the schlock I used to hear in the house.

I ultimately rediscovered them years later and came to appreciate a lot of their work. That album can still be a tough one because of the childhood associations, though it contains a few of their best songs--most notably the previously-referenced "Only Living Boy In New York" and this one, "The Boxer." It's one of Paul Simon's most Dylanesque accomplishments (Dylan himself gave it a spin), lyrically rich, while sporting a lovely melody throughout. The dense production gives its humble folk roots truly epic proportion, from the booming "lie-la-lies" to the restrained yet effective percussion from session legend Hal Blaine (who added similar flair to "Living Boy").

Live 2009:
Dylan's take from 1970's Self Portrait:
Shawn Colvin & Alison Krauss: