“The Boxer” by Paul Simon, arranged with tab for fingerstyle guitar by Daryl Shawn.
“The Boxer” is a song by the American music duo Simon & Garfunkel from their fifth studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water (1970). Produced by the duo and Roy Halee, it was released as the lead single from the album on March 21, 1969. The song, written by Paul Simon, is a folk rock ballad that variously takes the form of a first-person lament as well as a third-person sketch of a boxer. Simon’s lyrics are largely autobiographical and partially inspired by the Bible, and were written during a time when he felt he was being unfairly criticized. The song’s lyrics discuss poverty and loneliness. It is particularly known for its plaintive refrain, in which the singer sings ‘lie-la-lie’, accompanied by a heavily reverbed drum.
“The Boxer” was the follow-up to one of the duo’s most successful singles, “Mrs. Robinson”. It peaked at No. 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It performed well internationally, charting within the Top 10 in nine countries, peaking highest in the Netherlands, Austria, South Africa, and Canada. Rolling Stone ranked the song No. 106 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
I am just a poor boy
Though my story’s seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocketful of mumbles
Such are promises
All lies and jest
Still, a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest
When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of a railway station
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places only they would know
Asking only workman’s wages
I come looking for a job
But I get no offers
Just a come-on from the whores on Seventh Avenue
I do declare there were times when I was so lonesome
I took some comfort there
Then I’m laying out my winter clothes
And wishing I was gone
Where the New York City winters aren’t bleeding me
To going home
In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the remainders
Of every glove that laid him down
And cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
“I am leaving, I am leaving”
But the fighter still remains
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