The Dangling Conversation (Simon and Garfunkel)

11 AUGUST 1966


Simon & Garfunkel's 'The Dangling Conversation' was the second single to be released from their album 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme', and after the huge success of their three singles earlier that year ('Sound of Silence'. 'Homeward Bound', 'I Am a Rock') they must have been expecting another Top 10 hit. However, it stalled at #25 in the US and did not chart in the UK, to Paul Simon's apparent 'absolute amazement'.

While Simon may have been fond of the song, it lacked commercial appeal for the time. The melody was delicate, the arrangement quietly subtle, and maybe Simon was trying to be too clever by half with the lyrics. The song is about lovers struggling to communicate as their relationship breaks down, and although he might have been writing 'in character', some of the lyrics come across as pretentious:
'And you read your Emily Dickinson,
And I my Robert Frost,
And we note our place with bookmarkers
That measure what we’ve lost.'
And,
'Yes, we speak of things that matter,
With words that must be said,
“Can analysis be worthwhile?”
“Is the theater really dead?”'
It has been said that Art Garfunkel never really liked the song and also found it pretentious, and in later years Simon himself described it as 'a college kid's song, a little precious'. Nonetheless, it makes a fine album track, and a good marker of the duo's artistic ambitions for mature, intelligent and distinctive songwriting.

Recorded: June–August 1966
Released: September 1966
Highest chart position: #25 (US) 
Length: 2:37
Writer: Paul Simon
Producer: Bob Johnston

The Dangling Conversation (Simon and Garfunkel)

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