No coincidence this was written as Man reached the Moon | Reviewer: Bill in LA
The song is totally monumental and a sweeping portrayal of every person who has ever gotton up after a beat-down, which should be everybody even if you don't live in NYC. The guitarist especially heard at the end is Fred Carter, Jr., on the wikipedia site for The_Boxer he says this is the greatest song he ever heard. As we reached the summit of man's exploration at the end of 1968 into 1969 when we made it to the moon, is when this legendary masterpiece came out and that is no coincidence. I'd love to make the video of it someday, where an angry young man punches the wall, or the punching bag, or something every time you hear "lie-li-lie - boom" in the song.
POV | Reviewer: Anonymous | 6/5/10
Four verses use the first person point of view, only the last is in the third person. I think this runaway sees himself as having sold out (squandered his resistence) and sees himself like a club fighter - a designated opponent - a broken down could-have-been... I don't see him as being the boxer.
Interpretation of "The Boxer", by TJL | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/21/10
I think this is analogous to the biblical story of the prodigal son. A young boy leaves home to make it on his own and fails. He comes back home defeated, yet still determined to try again and a later time when he is better prepared, more experienced, older and wiser. "The fighter still remains" has two meanings to me. First, the fighter in the poor boy and in all of us still remains after falling down.....the will to get back up and fight. Secondly, the figher/boxer/physical character in the story remains in the city/NYC where the young boy went and left, symbolizing how hard life is and what kind of person it takes to get through it, using the boxer's toughness and sticktoitiveness to demonstrate the qualities needed to survive life in gerneral or life in this city/NYC.
To me, the lyrics explain life's every day struggles fighting "the system of living" and the down falls each man can go through. But standing up and getting back up before the count, the fighter still remains---the same. Strong and determined to beat all odds.
Boxer question | Reviewer: Anonymous | 2/24/09
A couple of years back there was a guy on Letterman promoting his new book. He read a short section of it where he talked about ripping off "The Boxer" for a college class. Does anyone know the name of the guy and/or the book?
The Boxer | Reviewer: Lawrence | 2/19/09
This is an amazing song, but I agree that the lyrics don't sound like metaphors really, and it would take someone with a bit of an ego problem to write a song comparing his struggle with harsh critics to that of homeless people. I think this is basically a story about someone who has grown up through terrible hardship and if it is based on anyone in particular maybe it's people he knew? Anyway, superb and totally spine-tingling.
the philosphy of "the boxer" | Reviewer: Ayall Sagi
though lyrics are very subjective, i think the magic of these brilliantly written lyrics is that it can mean so much.
it's about the sad fact of death/life, and is summed up by the boxer analogy;
"And he carries the reminders of every glove that laid him down,
Or cut him 'til he cried out in his anger and his shame,
'I am leaving, I am leaving.'
But the fighter still remains."
all of us, on our death bed, carry "reminders" of life/past experiences... and we will all be forced to submit to the fact that we are "leaving," but that life will go on without us.
the first verse, such as shakespear did before plays, is a summary about the story and the lessons learned.
story starts with us all being stary eyed optomists only to find outselves "running scared."
story continues to looking for somethign in life... trying to find something unique "Lookin' for the places, only they would know."
story comming to a soon end end; life is hard... everyone is over qualified, under paid, hard to justify your place in life, but the silver lining is you do find "some comfort."
story ends, as we all will realized, "goin' home."
So beautiful, so true.
What truely makes me wonder... did paul simon realize he was writting such a great/timeless song when the composed this piece?
My Interpretation | Reviewer: Kate
I think this song is about a foreign boy who comes to America in hopes of earning money for his family during the Vietnam war. He tries to get a decent job but finds none because of discrimination. An american man seeking to take advantage of his desperation offers him a job boxing for very little money. The boy is reluctant, but accepts because the man makes the job sound appealing, and as though it will lead to greater things. He is treated crually and paid little, turning bitter as the years go by. Eventually he becomes so tired of this lifestyle that he quits. Spirit broken and miserable, he takes what little money he has and buys a ticket to go back home. I know it doesn't make a whole lot of sense but that's how I've always seen this song.
Powerful | Reviewer: Anonymous | 4/6/08
Every time I hear this song...it makes an impression.As I grow older I appreciate it more. It applies to everyones life ...no matter where you are or what you do. Nobody can sing this song like Simon and Garfunkel
Probably one of the best songs ever written
A Timeless Masterpiece that Resonates | Reviewer: Nick Payne
The Boxer is largely autobiographical but part of the reason it is so enduringly popular is that it resonates. The boxer is not only a metaphor for Paul Simon... but for every one of us who the world tries to strip naked and beat down in any way imaginable. Whenever I go through some kind of hardship, this song springs to mind.
the musician, the boxer, the legend | Reviewer: herb
when i hear the boxer, i see a young musician struggling early in his career to make his way in the big city. Lonely and on his own, he relates his life to that of a young boxer who takes a beating along the way but never gives up on his passion and his dreams of being a champion some day.the musician as we all know made it one day and is the rest is history! kind of reminds me of another legend....frank sinatra!
1960"s | Reviewer: Don
If you were alive in the 196o's you will know the termoil with the Viet Nam war. Judging by some of the comments here these people were not even born yet and let alone know what the war was or about. Simon and Garfunkel. Creedence, and along with others expressed themselves and their feelings along with the feelings of a generation against the war. Study up on the war in Viet Nam. Once you think you have a good grip on what happened there "then" listen to the music of that era. If you cant figure it out, well then , ask a vet. A Viet Nam War Veteran. They will be very pleased to explain. If you want to listen and learn. Cant figure out the "Boxer"? Try Creedence "Bad Moon Rising"
My Dad | Reviewer: Ian in Wigan | 11/3/07
This song and the rest of the album bring me memories of my long gone father. Memories of going on holiday in the car (with those really big tapes...) He died in 1977 and I always cry to this day when I hear this album.
What this song means to me | Reviewer: heather | 10/25/07
My interpretation of this song:
A boy who has a dream to be a boxer. As it realates to the average person, it's a dream that a person has about what they want out of life. Every person has a dream and this boy is no exception.
Unlike most people with dreams this boy follows his and gives up everything to do it. He is driven by his heart to be a boxer. He squandered his existence for a pocket full of mumbles such as promises. He squanderes for survival and his way of living which sounds like he is making it just enough to survive...unhappily though. He holds onto his dream and believes he will live out his dream from the promises others have made to him as it realates to his success as a boxer.
I think he realizes that the world is a lonely place when you start at the bottom. He is desperate to find compassion and acceptance and does so on 7th avenue.
When he talks about wishing I were gone I think he really feels that he has failed and wishes he were dead. The harsh reality that he won't live out his dream and having to go home and face his family and their criticism toppled with the criticism and defeat he faced as a failed boxer..unable to make ends meet is quite sad and is apparent in the mood of the entire song.
He leaves his dream and goes home, but the drive in his heart will never go away.
Quite a sad song. Maybe there is a little of the boxer in everyone.
The Boxer | Reviewer: Blair | 8/19/07
The Boxer is an autobiographical tale of Paul Simon's life and his feelings about harsh criticism which he received. The boxer in the song is a metaphorical representation of Simon, saying that he carries the scares of every negative thing people have said about him and that there is only so much he can take till eventually he declares he is leaving (the music business) but for now he (the fighter) still remains.
Simon states that the second verse has biblical references such as "the poorer quarters" and "ragged people" as he was reading the bible at the time he penned the lyrics.
The "Bangs" in the chorus where created by the percussionist hitting a heavy chain on the floor.
A lyrical masterpiece and some of the best two part harmonies ever recorded.