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Wednesday Morning 3AM

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Simon & Garfunkel
Wednesday Morning, 3AM

Columbia Records
Stereo – CS 9049
Mono – CL 2249


From the original vinyl LP

Exciting new sounds in the folk tradition

Side One:

1. You Can Tell The World
(Gibson – Camp)
Melody Trails, Inc. (BMI)

2. Last Night I Had The Strangest Dream (2:09)
Almanac Music, Inc. (ASCAP)

3. Bleecker Street
E.B. Marks Music Corp. (BMI)

4. Sparrow (2:47)
Duchess Music Corp. (BMI)

5. Benedictus (2:37)
(arr. & adapted by Simon – Garr)
E.B. Marks Music Corp. (BMI)

6. The Sounds Of Silence (3:05)
Eclectic Music Co. (BMI)

Side Two:

1. He Was My Brother
E.B. Marks Music Corp. (BMI)
2. Peggy-O (2:32)
Public Domain
3. Go Tell It On The Mountain (2:04)
Public Domain

4. The Sun Is Burning (2:47)
Essex Music, Inc. (ASCAP)
5. The Times They Are A-Changin’ (2:50)
M. Witmark & Sons (ASCAP)
6. Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (2:13)
Landis Music (BMI)


Produced by Tom Wilson
Cover Photo: Columbia Records Photo Studio – Henry Parker


July 1, New York

Dear Paul,

How’s London? I just want to interrupt your tea for a moment to let you know what’s been happening since you left. You know it kills me that you’re in London now, goofing, while I’m here with three term papers ahead of me. And the album’s sitting waiting downtown at Columbia in our cubby.

Two things before I forget: Did you find a scooter for us? Call up that number I gave you, the guys knows all about these sort of things – he’ll be very helpful. I expect to see you and the machine in Paris when I come after finals. Also send me the chords to “Wednesday Morning” because I expect to do singles at Gerde’s for a few nights.

Tom asked me yesterday if I would write the album notes. I told him I thought the author should explain his own songs, but I’m reconsidering. In fact, it’s a very pleasant task. I know how you feel about this, but I (your greatest advocate) want as many as possible to understand as much as possible. Please understand that mine is the difficult position more than slightly analogous to the man who received Frank Kafka’s dying request to burn all his manuscripts, but who nonetheless felt obliged to rush off to the publisher at his first chance. The point is that you understanding the songs, me believing in their worth, and Columbia recording them, is really not sufficient. So I decided last night to write the following as a “listener’s guide” to the songs:

I first heard He Was My Brother in June 1963, the week after Paul Simon wrote it. Cast in the Bob Dylan mold of that time, there was no subtlety in the song, no sophistication in the lyric; rather, the innocent voice of an uncomfortable youth. The ending is joyously optimistic. I was happy to feel the way the song made me feel. It was clearly the product of considerable talent.

In September 1963, I returned from Berkeley, California, where I had spent the summer, Paul had just completed Sparrow and was already working on the third song. With Sparrow begins much of the style that characterizes all the later work. The clarity of the song’s structure is matched by the simplicity of its subject. The song is asking: “Who will love?” Poetic personification is used for the answers: Greed (“the oak tree”), Vanity (“the swan”), hypocrisy (“the wheat”).

I was greatly impressed with Sparrow, and I arranged the two songs for us. We sang at Folk City that night and formed the partnership.

I confess that Bleecker Street (finished in October 1963), was too much for me at first. The song is highly intellectual, the symbolism extremely challenging. The opening line in which the fog comes like a “shroud” over the city introduces the theme of “creative sterility.” But it is the second verse which I find particularly significant:

Voices leaking from a sad café,
Smiling faces try to understand;
I saw a shadow touch a shadow’s hand,
On Bleecker Street.

The first line is purely poetic image. The second line touches poignantly on human conditions of our time. To me, it shows the same perceptive psychological characterization as Sparrow – the “golden wheat” (“I would if I could but I cannot, I know”). The third line marks the first appearance of a theme that is to occupy great attention in later work – “lack of communication.”

The author says that the poets have “sold out” (“the poet writes his crooked rhyme”). The line “Thirty dollars pays your rent” reminds one of Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Christ for thirty pieces of silver. Admittedly, the song is difficult to understand but worth the effort.

The Sounds of Silence is a major work. We were looking for a song on a larger scale, but this was more than either of us expected. Paul had the theme and the melody set in November, but three months of frustrating attempts were necessary before the song “burst forth.” On February 19, 1964, the song practically wrote itself.

Its theme is man’s inability to communicate with man. The author sees the extent of communication as it is on only its most superficial and “commercial” level (of which the “neon sign” is representative). There is no serious understanding because there is no serious communication – “people talking without speaking – hearing without listening.” No one dares take the risk of reaching out (“take my arms that I might reach you”) to disturb the sound of silence. The poet’s attempts are equally futile (“… but my words like silent raindrops fell within the wells of silence”). The ending is an enigma. I find my own meaning in it, but like most good works, it is best interpreted by each person individually. The words tell us that when meaningful communication fails, the only sound is silence.

Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., written in April 1964, is a change of pace. The heightened intensity of The Sounds of Silence has given way here to a gentle mood, and the melody is once again a soft, smooth vehicle. It is a painting that sets a scene, sketches some details and quietly concludes.

Paul – let me know what you think. I tried to be as honest as I can. You know how [I] [we] feel – there may or not be a market for intellectuality, but there is your personal feel for the material, and ours for the performance.

I promised I’d be down to the mastering next week to fight for the harmonica in “He Was My Brother.” (Making an album is lots of fun.)

Listen, try and get us a job for when I come. And no singing in the streets.

Art Garfunkel

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