The song was written by a young Paul Simon, of Simon & Garfunkel, and was part of their first album Wednesday Morning, 3 am released in October of 1964. The song - a soft duet accompanied by a guitar - was a failure, as was the album, and the duo split up. Less than a year later, after the song had started to grow some airplay, the song's producer decided to add some electronic instruments to it without running it by either Paul Simon or Art Garfunkel first and even released it before they had heard it. This new version hit The Billboard Top 100's No 1 spot just as 1966 arrived.
That version is the most popular and most famous still, but in late 2015 until Disturbed covered and released a video for it, a video that has more than 196 Million views on YouTube and it's widely shared on social media.
Now, enter Peter Hollens and Tim Foust.
This new version has everything that makes all the mentioned versions great, except for instruments. True to their roots this new and exciting rendition is all a cappella, Peter Hollens style. We have heard the combination of the two voices before, when they collaborated on Misty Mountain (read my blog post for that video here), and we love them together. This song shows us we have not been wrong.
So, what's so special about this cover?
- The words are important - and you can hear every single of them clearly here. The combination of the words and melody of this song makes it easy to hear anyway, but you hear it not only with your ears, but with your heart as well.
- The feeling - honestly, this songs melody is gripping and haunting on it's own, Peter and Tim adds to it with perfection, highlights in the right places and drops back when suitable all adding to the feeling that we need to see each other's hearts more.
- The harmonies - seriously, a cappella is all about harmonies and this is no exception. These two guys complement each other no matter if they sing tenor, baritone or bass - together, when harmonizing or separately. Yes, they both do a bit of both - although Tim's bass is unbeatable.
- The power build up - building up a song at the right time and in the right place is crucial for some songs and this is such a song. It's fair to say that it's easier to do using instruments - which is what happened when S&G re-released it in 1965, the song was overdubbed using instruments to help build up the power. Disturbed uses a combination of orchestra instruments and the singer David's strong and low voice to build it up - but it's a more required taste with that kind of metal. P&T use the song itself, and their voices, to emphasize the power.
- The intensity - how they look, how they sing, how the video is made - intense in just the right amount and way.
- The dark sides - both Peter and Tim brings out a dark side that I really like, Tim especially. We are so used to seeing these two guys as loving, caring and funny guys with big hearts, and it's nice to see the (obviously innocent) darkness shine through this way.
- The end - spot on in every single way - the looks, the lighter expressions, the colour leaving, the pose - mirroring the cover picture from Simon & Garfunkel's Bookends album.
In short - this song and video has a true potential to become one of the top 3 versions of this song - to me it is already No 1. Well done, Peter and Tim! Well done!
What are your thoughts? Which rendition is your all-time favourite? Comment below.
S&G original version 1964
S&G overdubbed version 1965
Disturbed version 2015