402 – Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer (1969)
Written by Paul Simon
Produced by Roy Halee, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel
Label – Columbia
Originally released as a single in April 1969 and included on their “Bridge Over Troubled Water” album the following year, “The Boxer” is a testament to Simon’s patience and attention to detail. Taking over 100 hours to record, the singer would request and successfully encourage Columbia recording studios to purchase and install a 16 track machine to replace the limited 8 track. A whole host of instrumentation was added including pedal steel, piccolo trumpet, bass harmonica and a soprano saxophone to support the beautiful finger picking and the iconic drum track was recorded outside the elevator door at Columbia offices to create the crashing sound of the chorus. The story of loneliness and poverty in New York City and the comparison with a beat up boxer is made more visceral by the imaginative arrangement that supports it. At the forefront as ever is the duo’s superb harmony vocals, and although other artists have recorded this including Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt, no one will ever better the original.