Simon and Garfunkel - The Boxer - 1969


The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel, released in 1969, is not just a song, but a masterpiece that resonates through generations. Its intricate lyrics, haunting harmonies, and the story it tells are a testament to the duo's songwriting prowess. Let's delve into the layers of this iconic song.


"The Boxer" is a folk rock song written by Paul Simon in 1969 and performed by Simon & Garfunkel. It was released as a single and later included in their fifth studio album, "Bridge over Troubled Water". This song is known for its mournful melody, the distinctive beat of the drum, and the famous "lie-la-lie" chorus.

Composition and Lyrics

The song begins with a soft guitar melody, setting a somber tone. The lyrics tell a story of a young man's struggles and resilience against adversity. The chorus, with its repetitive "lie-la-lie", adds an element of universality and timelessness to the song.

Reception and Legacy

Upon its release, "The Boxer" became a hit, reaching number 7 on the Billboard charts. It has since been covered by various artists and remains a significant work in the folk-rock genre. The song's emotional depth and narrative style have influenced countless musicians and songwriters over the years.

Interactive Tasks

Quiz: Questions on the song

What year was "The Boxer" by Simon & Garfunkel released? (1969) (!1972) (!1965) (!1970)

Which album features "The Boxer"? (Bridge over Troubled Water) (!Sounds of Silence) (!Bookends) (!Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme)

What genre does "The Boxer" primarily belong to? (Folk rock) (!Pop) (!Blues) (!Country)

What is a distinctive musical feature of "The Boxer"? (Its "lie-la-lie" chorus) (!A prominent piano solo) (!Heavy electric guitar) (!Rapid drumming)

What is a central theme of "The Boxer"? (Resilience against adversity) (!Romantic love) (!Political protest) (!Coming of age)

Quiz: Questions on the Performer

Who are the members of Simon & Garfunkel? (Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel) (!John Lennon and Paul McCartney) (!Mick Jagger and Keith Richards) (!James Taylor and Carole King)

In what year did Simon & Garfunkel first form as a music duo? (1956) (!1960) (!1964) (!1971)

Which Simon & Garfunkel song was a major hit in 1965? ("The Sound of Silence") (!"Mrs. Robinson") (!"Bridge over Troubled Water") (!"Cecilia")

Which of the following is a characteristic style of Simon & Garfunkel's music? (Harmonious vocal blending) (!Heavy metal influences) (!Rap and hip-hop elements) (!Electronic dance music)

Where did Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel grow up? (Queens, New York) (!Los Angeles, California) (!London, England) (!Nashville, Tennessee)

Quiz: Questions on the lyrics

In "The Boxer", what does the protagonist claim he carries? (A reminder of every glove that laid him down) (!A picture of his lost love) (!A book of poems) (!A map of his hometown)

How does the song describe the boxer's hometown? (New York City) (!A small town in Ohio) (!San Francisco) (!A village in England)

What does the boxer vow to do in the song? (Never give up despite hardships) (!Return to his family) (!Become famous) (!Win back his lost love)

The "lie-la-lie" chorus in "The Boxer" is often interpreted as: (An expression of the inarticulate emotions) (!A call to action) (!A celebration of victory) (!A lament for lost youth)

What is the profession of the song's protagonist? (A boxer) (!A musician) (!A poet) (!A painter)


Paul Simon Songwriter of "The Boxer"
1969 Release Year of "The Boxer"
Folk Rock Genre of "The Boxer"
"Lie-la-lie" Signature Chorus of "The Boxer"
Resilience Central Theme of "The Boxer"

Open Tasks


  1. Create a Playlist: Compile a playlist of folk rock songs from the 1960s and explain your choices.
  2. Cover Art Analysis: Analyze the cover art of "Bridge over Troubled Water" and describe how it reflects the album's themes.
  3. Personal Reflection: Write a short essay on how "The Boxer" relates to your own experiences or feelings.


  1. Song Comparison: Compare "The Boxer" to another Simon & Garfunkel song in terms of themes and musical style.
  2. Lyric Analysis: Analyze the lyrics of "The Boxer" and discuss the storytelling techniques used.
  3. Musical Elements Research: Research the folk rock genre and discuss how "The Boxer" fits into this category.


  1. Songwriting Exercise: Write your own song inspired by "The Boxer", focusing on storytelling and emotional expression.
  2. Historical Context Study: Explore the historical and cultural context of 1969 and discuss how it might have influenced the song.
  3. Performance Review: Attend a folk music concert and write a review comparing it to the style of Simon & Garfunkel.

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Oral Exam

  1. Comparative Analysis: Compare and contrast "The Boxer" with another song from the same era regarding their reflection of social issues.
  2. Musical Influence Discussion: Discuss how Simon & Garfunkel's music has influenced modern folk artists.
  3. Lyric Interpretation: Interpret the metaphorical meanings in "The Boxer" and relate them to broader themes in music.
  4. Performance Techniques: Describe how vocal harmonization in Simon & Garfunkel's songs enhances their emotional impact.
  5. Cultural Impact: Discuss the cultural significance of "The Boxer" in the context of 1960s America.

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