The Dangling Conversation

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"The Dangling Conversation"
The Dangling Conversation single.jpg
Single by Simon and Garfunkel
from the album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme
Released September 1966
Format 7" single
Recorded June–August 1966
Genre Folk rock
Length 2:37
Label Columbia Records
Writer(s) Paul Simon
Producer(s) Bob Johnston
Simon and Garfunkel singles chronology
"I Am a Rock"
(1966)
"The Dangling Conversation"
(1966)
"A Hazy Shade of Winter"
(1966)

"The Dangling Conversation" is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released in September 1966 as the second single from the duo's third studio album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966).

The song peaked at number 25 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1]

Background[edit]

The theme is failed communication between lovers. The song starts in a room washed by shadows from the sun slanting through the lace curtains and ends with the room "softly faded." The two are as different as the poets they read: Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost. Simon has compared this song to "The Sound of Silence", but says "The Dangling Conversation" is more personal.[2]

Simon & Garfunkel's opinion of the song varied over time. According to biographer Peter Ames Carlin, they both considered it their favorite song on the album at the time of its release.[3] Marc Eliot, who wrote Paul Simon: A Life, disputes this, arguing that Garfunkel always disliked the song and felt it was pretentious.[4] When the single did not perform as well as they had hoped, Simon told Record Mirror's Norman Jopling that the song was "above the kids." In 1993, when asked about the song, he commented, "It's a college kid's song, a little precious."[3]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song only climbed to 25 on the US charts and never made it onto the UK charts. Simon viewed "The Dangling Conversation" as an "absolutely amazing" disappointment to him at the time, as the previous three Simon & Garfunkel singles were reasonable "hits". He felt as though the song may have been "too heavy" for a mainstream audience.[5]

Cover versions[edit]

Joan Baez included a cover of the song on her 1967 Joan album. She changed one of the lines to "Is the church really dead?" and Simon insisted that a line be inserted on the album's back cover that read: "Paul Simon asks Joan to note that the original line is, 'Is the theater really dead?'"

Les Fradkin has a dramatic version on his 2006 album, Jangleholic.

Charts[edit]

Chart (1966) Peak
position
Canada 100 (RPM)[6] 27
US Billboard Hot 100[1] 25

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Simon & Garfunkel – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Simon & Garfunkel. Retrieved March 27, 2016.
  2. ^ "Show 36 - The Rubberization of Soul: The great pop music renaissance. [Part 2]". UNT Digital Library. University of North Texas. Retrieved 2016-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b Carlin 2016, p. 138.
  4. ^ Eliot 2010, p. 74.
  5. ^ Jon Landau (July 20, 1972). "Paul Simon: The Rolling Stone Interview". Rolling Stone (113). Retrieved May 27, 2016. 
  6. ^ "RPM Top 30 Rock Report". RPM. Ottawa: Library and Archives Canada. 6 (4). September 19, 1966. OCLC 352936026. Retrieved March 27, 2016. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]