Friday, 17 February 2012

Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you again - The Sound of Silence (1964)

"Sounds of Silence" is the song that propelled the 1960s folk music duo Simon & Garfunkel to popularity. It was written in February 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the 1963 assassination of Johnm F. Kennedy. An initial version preferred by the band was remixed and sweetened, and has become known as "the quintessential folk rock release". In the U.S., it was the duo's second most popular hit after "Bridge Over Troubled Water".
The song features Simon on acoustic guitar and both singing. It was originally recorded as an acoustic piece for their first album Wednesday Morning in 1964 but on the initiative of the record company's producer, Tom Wilson, it was later overdubbed with drums (Bobby Gregg), electric bass (Bob Bushnell) and electric guitar (Al Gorgoni), all without the knowledge or participation of Simon & Garfunkel and rereleased as a single in September 1965. The single reached number one on New Years Day 1966 and was included in the 1966 album Sounds of Silence.
"The Sound of Silence" was originally called "The Sounds of Silence" and is titled that way on the early albums in which it appeared and on the first single release; only on later compilations was it retitled "The Sound of Silence". Both the singular and the plural appear in the lyrics. In his book Lyrics 1964–2008 Simon has the title in the singular.
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Paul Simon began working on the song some time after the Kennedy assassination. He had made progress on the music but had yet to get down the lyrics. On 19 February 1964, the lyrics coalesced, as Simon recalled: "The main thing about playing the guitar, though, was that I was able to sit by myself and play and dream. And I was always happy doing that. I used to go off in the bathroom, because the bathroom had tiles, so it was a slight echo chamber. I'd turn on the faucet so that water would run — I like that sound, it's very soothing to me — and I'd play. In the dark. 'Hello darkness, my old friend / I've come to talk with you again'."
Simon showed the new composition to Garfunkel the same day, and shortly afterward, the duo began to perform it at folk clubs in New York. In the liner notes of their debut album, Wednesday Morning 3 A.M., Garfunkel claims, "'The Sound of Silence' is a major work. We were looking for a song on a larger scale, but this is more than either of us expected."
The duo recorded it for the first time on March 10, and included the track on Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which was released that October. The album flopped upon its release, and the duo split up, with Simon going to England for much of 1965, hooking up with singer/songwriter Bruce Woodley of The Seekers. There he often performed the song solo in folk clubs, and recorded it for a second time on his solo LP in May 1965, The Paul Simon Songbook. In the meantime, Simon and Garfunkel's producer at Columbia Records in New York, Tom Wilson, had learned that the song had begun to receive airplay on radio stations in Boston, Massachussetts and around Gainsville and Cocoa Beach, Florida.
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On June 15, 1965, immediately after the recording session of Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone", Wilson took the original acoustically instrumented track of Simon & Garfunkel's 1964 version, and overdubbed the recording with electric Guitar (played by Al Gorgoni and Vinnie Bell), electric bass (Joe Mack), and drums (Buddy Salzman), and released it as a single without consulting Simon or Garfunkel. The lack of consultation with Simon and Garfunkel on Wilson's re-mix was because, although still contracted to Columbia Records at the time, the musical duo at that time was no longer a "working entity". Roy Halee was the recording engineer, who in spirit with the success of The Byrds and their success formula in folk rock, introduced an echo chamber effect into the song. Al Gorgoni later would reflect that this echo effect worked well on the finished recording, but would dislike the electric guitar work they technically superimposed on the original acoustic piece.
For the B-Side, Wilson used an unreleased track he cut with the duo a few months earlier on which they had tried out a more "contemporary" sound. The record single "Sounds of Silence"/"We've Got a Groovey Thing Going" entered the U.S. pop charts in September 1965 and slowly began its ascent. In the first issue of crawdaddy! magazine, January 30, 1966, Paul Williams, in reviewing the later album, wrote that he liked this B-side song which he found pure "rock and roll", "catchy", with a "fascinating beat and melody" and great harmony.
Simon learned that it had entered the charts minutes before he went on stage to perform at a club in Copenhagen, and in the later fall of 1965 he returned to the U.S. By the end of 1965 and the first few weeks of 1966, the song reached number one on the U.S. charts. Simon and Garfunkel then reunited as a musical act, and included the song as the title track of their next album, Sounds of Silence, hastily recorded in December 1965 and released in January 1966 to capitalize on their success. The song propelled them to stardom and, together with two other top-five (in the U.S.) hits in the summer of 1966, "I am a Rock" and "Homeward Bound," ensured the duo's fame. In 1999, BMI named "The Sound of Silence" as the 18th-most performed song of the 20th century. In 2004, it was ranked No156 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of all Time, one of the duo's three songs on the list.
On the duo's 1968 album Bookends, the track "Save the Life of My Child" features a distorted sample of Art Garfunkel's "Hello darkness my old friend, I've come to talk with you" line from the original recording of "The Sound of Silence").

The Persuaders - Episode Five - Powerswitch (1971)

The body of a beautiful girl found floating in a Cote d'Azure bay plunges Danny and Brett into even deeper water when it is discovered that she has been murdered.....
The finding of a drowned girl in a Cote d'Azure bay has sinister implications for Brett Sinclair (Roger Moore) and Danny Wilde (Tony Curtis) after they have come across the body and are tricked by Judge Fulton (Laurence Naismith) into helping unravel the strange circumstances which surround the girl's death.
But they have a lovely girl to help them in their inquiries. The girl is Pekoe (Annette Andre), friend and flatmate of the dead girl, whom she identifies as Julie Blake. When he takes her home, Brett unsuccessfully chases an intruder who has torn a photograph from Julie's "trophy book" of boy-friends, and Pekoe tells him that Julie was excited about meeting someone, and that she had hired a car. At the same time, Danny finds a photograph of Julie with a man he recognises when he visit the club where the girls were both members of a dance troupe run by Quinn Travis (Lionel Blair).
The clues they have picked up take them all to a multi-millionaire's mountain retreat, where they meet Lanning Koestler (John Phillips) and his wife Lisa (Melissa Stribling). Koestler has to admit that he had an affair with the dead girl, but the case takes a new turn when Brett and Danny find evidence that suggests the Koestler they have met is an imposter. He has, in fact, fooled everyone except Julie. Learning the truth has cost the girl her life.

Before further action can be taken, Brett, Danny and Pekoe are trapped by Koestler's aide, Crane (Terence Alexander). Challenged by a guess that the real Koestler is dead, Mrs. Koestler confesses that this is true and that if his death had leaked out the entire fortune would have been wrecked. The stock is being moved secretly to corporations she controls.

The imposter is a small-time actor named Morgan Alcott, who is scared when Danny tells him of a plan to kill him when the time comes to produce the real Koestler's body and declare him officially dead. Scared, Alcott releases them and the four flee together.
But  Mrs. Koestler's men are a move ahead. The escape car's brakes have been bled and the doors deliberately jammed. Death seems inevitable for the four of them as the car hurtles round hairpin bends with Danny at the wheel. Miraculously, he manages to bring it to a crash stop on the brink of a death drop...but they are still locked in as Ravel (Les Crawford) slams his car at their's trying to send it over the top.....It requires all Danny's ingenuity to save them.

The 1984 Brighton Bombing

The Brighton hotel bombing happened on 12 October 1984 at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. The bomb was planted by the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) member Patrick Magee, with the intention of assassinating Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet who were staying at the hotel for the Conservative Party conference. Patrick Magee had stayed in the hotel under the false name of Roy Walsh during the weekend of 14–17 September 1984. During his stay, he planted the bomb (fitted with a long-delay timer made from video recorder components) under the bath in his room, number 629.

The bomb detonated at 2:54 a.m. on 12 October. Margaret Thatcher was still awake at the time, working on her conference speech for the next day in her suite. It badly damaged her bathroom, but left her sitting room and bedroom unscathed. Both she and her husband Denis escaped injury. She changed her clothes and was then escorted out of the rear of the hotel by the security guards and driven to Brighton police station. She and her husband were then taken to Sussex Police Headquarters at Lewes, where they stayed for the rest of the night.
As she left the police station, she gave an impromptu interview to the BBC's John Cole at around 4:00 a.m., where she said the conference would go on as usual. Alistair McAlpine persuaded Marks & Spencer to open early at 8:00 a.m. so those who had lost their clothes in the bombing could get new ones. Thatcher went from the conference to visit the injured at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
The bomb failed to kill Thatcher or any of her Government Ministers. Five people, however, were killed, including Conservative MP Anthony Berry and Parliamentary Treasury Secretary John Wakeham's wife Roberta. Sir Donald Maclean and his wife, Muriel, were in the room in which the bomb exploded: Lady Maclean was gravely injured and later died as a consequence of the explosion while Sir Donald was seriously injured. The other people killed by the blast were Eric Taylor and Jeanne Shattock. Several more, including Margaret Tebbit — the wife of Norman Tebbit, who was then President of the Board of Trade — were left permanently disabled. Thirty-four people were taken to the hospital and recovered from their injuries.
The IRA claimed responsibility the next day, and said that it would try again. Its statement read:
"Mrs. Thatcher will now realise that Britain cannot occupy our country and torture our prisoners and shoot our people in their own streets and get away with it. Today we were unlucky, but remember we only have to be lucky once. You will have to be lucky always. Give Ireland peace and there will be no more war."

Margaret Thatcher began the next session of the conference at 9:30 a.m. the following morning as scheduled. She omitted most of her planned attacks on the Labour Party from her speech and claimed the bombing was "an attempt to cripple Her Majesty's democratically elected Government":
"That is the scale of the outrage in which we have all shared, and the fact that we are gathered here now—shocked, but composed and determined—is a sign not only that this attack has failed, but that all attempts to destroy democracy by terrorism will fail."
One of her biographers wrote that Thatcher's "coolness, in the immediate aftermath of the attack and in the hours after it, won universal admiration. Her defiance was another Churchillian moment in her premiership which seemed to encapsulate both her own steely character and the British public's stoical refusal to submit to terrorism". Immediately afterwards her popularity soared to near-Falklands levels. On the first Saturday after the attack, Thatcher said to her constituents: "We suffered a tragedy not one of us could have thought would happen in our country. And we picked ourselves up and sorted ourselves out as all good British people do, and I thought, let us stand together for we are British! They were trying to destroy the fundamental freedom that is the birth-right of every British citizen, freedom, justice and democracy".
Patrick Magee was tailed for months by MI5 and special branch, and finally arrested in an IRA flat in Glasgow. Despite days of interrogation he refused to answer questions - but a fingerprint on a registration card recovered from the hotel ruins was enough to convict him. While he admits he was part of the team that carried out the bombing, he still does not accept the fingerprint on the registration card was his. "If that was my fingerprint I did not put it there," In September 1986, Magee, then aged 35, was found guilty of planting the bomb, detonating it, and of five counts of murder. Magee received eight life sentences: seven for offences relating to the Brighton bombing, and the eighth for a separate bombing conspiracy. The judge recommended that he serve a minimum term of thirty-five years. Later, Home Secretary, Michael Howard increased this minimum to "whole life". He was released from prison, however, in 1999, having served only fourteen years (including the time before his sentencing), under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. A Downing Street spokesman said that his release "was hard to stomach" and an appeal by then Home Secretary Jack Straw to prevent it was turned down by the Northern Ireland High Court.
Magee, while admitting being part of the IRA unit responsible, maintains that the fingerprint evidence on a registration card from the hotel was faked.