The Paul Simon version of the Sounds of Silence (which we are currently learning) has always given me goosebumps, but the song which stopped me in my tracks the first time I ever heard it was Zombie by The Cranberries. It was so incredibly powerful that I caught my breath and my skin prickled, and still does when I hear it.
I asked my 13-year-old if he experienced goosebumps when listening to any piece of music. Without hesitation he replied, ‘Yes! The theme to Jurassic Park…the first one.’
Do you experience frisson or goosebumps when listening to music, and if so, which songs? Post links to your favourite goosebump-inducing pieces in the comments below.
One of the songs we are currently learning is The Sounds of Silence.
When I was at university I owned a battered vinyl copy of an album called Wednesday Morning 3AM. My musical hero John Peel had mentioned it in one of his late night radio sessions, and then there it was, the next day, in a box outside a junk shop on Great Horton Road in Bradford. I took it as an omen, parted with a few pence and schlepped it back to my student flat where I suddenly remembered I didn’t have a record player, only a tape deck! When I returned home for the holidays though I listened to it over and over. It was completely different to the eighties electropop and rock I’d previously been into. I loved the acoustic simplicity. It was my first foray into the folk genre and I carefully recorded it on to audio tape, and took it back to uni, where I listened to it until the tape wore out! My love affair with Paul Simon began at that point and from there I moved on to Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Don Maclean and Cat Stevens, and I revisited my father’s LPs of the Beatles and the Kinks. My flatmates, who existed on a solid diet of House music, Hip Hop and Gothic Rock thought I was bonkers, but something about this music really appealed to me.
My favourite songs on Wednesday Morning 3AM were Kathy’s Song and the Sounds of Silence. Paul Simon wrote them when he was 21, about the age I bought the album. I didn’t know that then but maybe his slightly angst-ridden lyrics spoke to my own angst-ridden soul!
A friend sent me a link to this cover version of the song recently. It’s by the Heavy Metal band Disturbed, but don’t let that put you off if you’re not a fan. This is a wonderful, epic version and I love it.
But for me nothing will ever match the original version which I fell in love with in my twenties.
What do you think? Which is your favourite version of the song?