A Hazy Shade of Winter
|"A Hazy Shade of Winter"|
|Single by Simon & Garfunkel|
|from the album Bookends|
|B-side||"For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her"|
|Released||October 22, 1966|
|Recorded||September 7, 1966
Columbia Studio A
(New York City)
|Simon & Garfunkel singles chronology|
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on October 22, 1966, initially as a stand-alone single, but was subsequently included on the duo's fourth studio album, Bookends (1968). The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.
In 1987, The Bangles recorded a cover version of the song that charted higher, at number two on the national charts.
"A Hazy Shade of Winter" follows a more rock-tinged sound, with a fairly straightforward verse-refrain structure. The song dates back to Simon's days in England in 1965. The song follows a hopeless poet, with "manuscripts of unpublished rhyme", unsure of his achievements in life.
The lyrics evoke the passage of the seasons, but (as the title suggests) focusing on the gloominess of winter. The chorus of the song repeats:
- But look around,
leaves are brown now
And the sky
is a hazy shade of winter
leaves are brown
There's a patch of snow on the ground.
|UK Singles Chart||30|
|US Billboard Hot 100||13|
The Bangles version
|"Hazy Shade of Winter"|
|Single by The Bangles|
|from the album Less Than Zero|
12" maxi, CD single
|Label||Def Jam Recordings|
|The Bangles singles chronology|
In 1987, The Bangles were approached to record a song for the soundtrack of the film Less Than Zero. They chose to record a cover of "A Hazy Shade of Winter," a song they had been performing since their early days as a band.
Their cover, simply titled "Hazy Shade of Winter," was vastly different from the original, turning it into a harder-edged rock song, and removing most of the bridge section. The record, like the rest of the soundtrack album, was produced by Rick Rubin. After a fruitful but disappointing experience with the producer of their Different Light album, David Kahne, where they were given little input in the production of the songs, the group decided to take more control for the recording of this song, and they were given an additional producer credit. Michael Steele later commented that "we sounded the most on this record the way we actually sound live", and that "If we hadn't been so messed up as a band, it could have been a turning point for us"
Lead vocals were performed jointly by all four members of the group, with a short solo led by Susanna Hoffs towards the end of the song. This was a rare occurrence in the Bangles songs, as they mostly had just one member singing lead on their songs. Due to pressure from their record label, The Bangles removed the verse from the original song that contained the line "drinking my vodka and lime." According to liner notes on the Soundtrack album, Steve Bartek from the band Oingo Boingo played guitar on the track.
When released as a single in November 1987, "Hazy Shade of Winter" became a huge hit, surpassing the popularity of the original version, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100, only behind "Could've Been" by Tiffany, and also #11 in the UK. It was also a hit around Europe.
The music video for the song featured the band singing in a studio surrounded by television screens on the walls, similar to a scene of the Less Than Zero film. Scenes of the film also appear throughout the video.
"Hazy Shade of Winter" was not included on any of the band's studio albums, but was later included on the band's first official Greatest Hits in 1990, and on many of the band's subsequent compilations. The accompanying Greatest Hits video compilation did not feature the "Hazy Shade of Winter" video, due to complications with the licensing of the movie rights of the Less Than Zero scenes that appear on the video clip.
The Bangles version chart history
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||2|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Music/Maxi-Singles Sales||37|
|UK Singles Chart||11|
|Ireland Singles Chart||8|
|New Zealand Singles Chart||14|
|Canadian Singles Chart||3|
|Dutch Singles Chart||12|
|Australia ARIA Singles Chart||7|
|German Singles Chart||52|
Other cover versions
UK punk-pop band Cranial Screwtop recorded a version of the song for their 2006 album Too Fast for Technology.
American psych-rock band Jimmy and the Soulblazers covered this song on their 1972 album Clockwork.
Australian pop punk band Bodyjar produced a popular version of the song in 1999.
Les Fradkin has a version on his 2006 album Jangleholic.
Singer-songwriter Susan Werner included a version of the song on her album Classics, which was released in early 2009.
- Bookends - Simon & Garfunkel > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles at AllMusic. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Fornatale 2007, p. 57.
- Bennighof 2007, p. 40.
- Unterberger, Richie. A Hazy Shade of Winter at AllMusic. Retrieved September 3, 2011.
- Fornatale 2007, p. 102.
- "Simon And Garfunkel". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on October 26, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
- "The Bangles: VH1 Behind The Music - Part 3". YouTube. April 7, 2010. Retrieved February 20, 2012.
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