Richard Cory (song)

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"Richard Cory"
Song by Simon and Garfunkel
from the album Sounds of Silence
ReleasedJanuary 17, 1966
RecordedDecember 1965
GenreFolk rock
LabelColumbia Records
Songwriter(s)Paul Simon
Producer(s)Bob Johnston

"Richard Cory" is a song written by Paul Simon in early 1965, and recorded by Simon and Garfunkel for their second studio album, Sounds of Silence. The song was based on Edwin Arlington Robinson's 1897 poem of the same title.


The song tells the tale of Richard Cory from the perspective of a man who works in his factory. The worker is envious of Cory. The advantages and recreations available to Richard Cory are enumerated in the song and the worker openly envies not only these specific advantages but Cory's presumed happiness. The last verse of the song ends similarly to the Robinson poem: Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head. Whereas the original poem concludes with this closing revelation and its implications, the repetition of the chorus in Simon's version (still pressing an insistent envy following Cory's suicide) discloses a second, darker revelation about what the worker wants.



The song was covered by Wings during their 1975–1976 Wings Over The World tour (available on the 1976 album Wings Over America). Denny Laine sang lead. In this particular version by Wings, during the first chorus line Laine actually (jokingly albeit deliberately) refers to the title character by the name of John Denver rather than Richard Cory, thus inciting a roar of laughter and applause from the audience, as this was apparently an unexpected modification on the original theme of the song.

The song has also been covered by Van Morrison (and with his band, Them), The Watchmen, The Heptones, Angst, The Back Porch Majority, Yami Bolo, Cuby & the Blizzards, Chicago Loop and Martini Ranch.

Jamaican singer Ken Boothe performed a version of the Paul Simon song in an early reggae style for his 1968 album More of Ken Boothe. It was recorded in the famous Studio One and produced by C. S. Dodd.

A live cover by Mark Seymour appears on Live At the Continental, which was packaged with King Without a Clue (1997).

The song inspired Steve Gerber's naming of Richard Rory.[1]


  1. ^ letters column, Man-Thing #6[full citation needed]

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