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Simon & Garfunkel - The Boxer

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Uploaded on Feb 27, 2010

"The Boxer" is a folk rock ballad written by Paul Simon in 1968 and first recorded by Simon & Garfunkel. It was released as the follow up single to their number one hit "Mrs. Robinson", and reached #7 in the US charts. It later appeared on their last studio album, Bridge over Troubled Water, along with its B-side "Baby Driver". It is particularly known for its plaintive refrain, in which the singer sings the tune as 'lie-la-lie', and the memorable finger-picking guitar played by guitarist Fred Carter, Jr.. Rolling Stone ranked the song #105 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

The original recording of the song is one of the duo's most highly produced, and took over 100 hours to record. The recording was performed at multiple locations, including Nashville, St. Paul's Chapel in New York City, and Columbia studios.

The version originally released on single by the duo features an instrumental melody written by Art Garfunkel and played in unison on pedal steel guitar and piccolo trumpet. The song also features a bass harmonica heard during the second and final verses. On the BBC, Paul Simon had Garfunkel's instrumental solo played with a soprano saxophone.

In the magazine Fretboard Journal, number 12, Winter 2008, Fred Carter Jr. recounts:

"I had a baby Martin, which is a 000-18, and when we started the record in New York with Roy Halee, the engineer, and Paul [Simon] was playin' his Martin--I think it's a D-18 and he was tuned regular--he didn't have the song totally written lyrically, but he had most of the melody. And so all I was hearin' was bits and pieces while he was doing' his fingerpicking...I think he was fingerpicking in an open C. I tried two or three things and then picked up the baby Martin, which was about a third above his guitar, soundwise.

"And I turned down the first string to a D, and tuned up the bass string to a G, which made it an open-G tuning, except for the fifth string, which was standard. Did some counter fingerpicking with him, just did a little backward roll, and Iucked into a lick. And that turned into that little roll, and we cut it, just Paul I, two guitars. Then we started to experiment with some other ideas and so forth. At the end of the day, we were still on the song. Garfunkel was amblin around the studio, hummin and havin input at various times. They were real scientists. Theyd get on a part, and it might be there [unfinished] six weeks later. On my guitar, they had me miked with about seven mics. They had a near mic, a distant mic, a neck mic, a mic on the hole. They even miked my breathing. They miked the guitar in back. So Roy Halee was a genius at getting around. The first time we were listenin, they killed the breathing mic. And they had an ambient mic overhead, which picked up the two guitars together, I suppose. And so, I was breathin, I guess, pretty heavy in rhythm. And they wanted to take out that noise, and they took it out and said, Naw, we gotta leave that in. That sounds almost like a rhythm on the record. So they left the breathin mic on for the mix. I played Tele on it and a 12-string, three or four guitars on it. I was doing different guitar parts. One was a chord pattern and rhythm pattern. Did the Dobro lick on the regular six-string finger Dobro—not a slide Dobro.

"I never heard the total record until I heard it on the air I thought, Thats the greatest record I heard in my life, especially after the scrutiny and after all the time they spent on it and breakin it apart musically and soundwise and all of it. There was some magic in the studio that day, and Roy Halee captured it. Paul and I had really nice groove.

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