7 O'Clock News/Silent Night
"7 O'Clock News/Silent Night" is the twelfth and final track on Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme, a 1966 album by Simon and Garfunkel. The track consists of an overdubbing of two contrasting recordings: a simple arrangement of the Christmas carol "Silent Night", and a simulated "7 O'Clock News" bulletin of the actual events of 3 August 1966.
The "Silent Night" track consists of Simon and Garfunkel singing the first verse twice over, accompanied by Garfunkel on piano. The voice of the newscaster is that of Charlie O'Donnell, then a radio disc jockey. As the track progresses, the song becomes fainter and the news report louder. Matthew Greenwald calls the effect "positively chilling". Bruce Eder describes the track as "a grim and ironic (and prophetic) comment on the state of the United States in 1966".
Events reported in the news
The following events are reported in the order given:
- A dispute in the House of Representatives over "the civil rights bill". It is stated that President Johnson had originally proposed a full ban on discrimination for any type of housing — dismissed as "having no chance" — and that "a compromise was painfully worked out in the House Judiciary Committee."
- The death of comedian Lenny Bruce from an overdose of narcotics at the age of 42 [actually 40].
- Dr. Martin Luther King reaffirming plans for an open housing Civil Rights march into Cicero, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. It is stated that Cook County sheriff Richard Ogilvie urged its cancellation, and that Cicero police plan to ask the National Guard to be called in.
- The grand jury indictment of Richard Speck for the murder of nine [actually eight] student nurses.
- Disruption by protesters at House Un-American Activities Committee hearings into anti-Vietnam War protests
- A speech by "former Vice-President Richard Nixon" to the Veterans of Foreign Wars [actually to the American Legion] urging an increase in the war effort in Vietnam, and calling opposition to the war the "greatest single weapon working against the United States".
- 7 O'Clock News/Silent Night at AllMusic
- Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme at AllMusic
- Simon, Paul. "7 O'Clock News/Silent Night: Lyrics". paulsimon.com. Retrieved 2009-05-09.