Song Lyric Sunday — I Am an Island

For this week’s Song Lyric Sunday, Jim Adams took Kristian’s (Tales from the Mind of Kristian ) suggestions of Atoll, Island, Key, Lagoon, Peninsula, Reef, and Tropical as the themes. While I’m pretty sure most of my fellow bloggers will chose lovely, upbeat, romantic songs about these idyllic locales, I chose a rather cold and dark song for my pick: Simon & Garfunkel’s “I Am a Rock.”

“I Am a Rock” was written by Paul Simon. It was initially performed by Simon alone as the opening track on his album The Paul Simon Songbook, which he originally recorded and released in only in the UK in August 1965. He and Art Garfunkel re-recorded it in December 1965 and included as the final track on their album Sounds of Silence, which they released in January 1966.

“I Am a Rock” was released as a single in the late spring of 1966, and the song reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was the third single by Simon & Garfunkel to reach the top 5 (after “The Sound of Silence” and “Homeward Bound”).

The song deals with isolation and emotional detachment. It’s written from the perspective of a recluse locking himself away from the world. When the singer says, “I am a rock, I am an island,” he means he wants to be away from everything and everyone. According to Simon, the song wasn’t at all autobiographical. He was just doing his best to write a hit song at the time, and didn’t write it either for or about himself.

Here are the lyrics to “I Am a Rock.”

A winter’s day, in a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window to the streets below
On a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow
I am a rock, I am an island

I’ve built walls
A fortress deep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain
I am a rock, I am an island

Don’t talk of love
But I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died
If I never loved I never would have cried

I am a rock, I am an island
I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me

I am a rock, I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries

In case you’re interested, here’s Paul Simon’s original solo release of “I Am a Rock.”

15 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday — I Am an Island

  1. talesfromthemindofkristian October 24, 2021 / 3:30 am

    I really enjoyed hearing the original solo and comparing it to the more famous duo with harmony. It shows that Paul Simon was a good singer as well as a songwriter, in his own right but that sometimes working with someone else elevates what we do to another level.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Maggie October 24, 2021 / 6:20 am

    This has always been a favorite of mine and surprisingly I don’t think of it as “cold and dark”. Great choice Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. newepicauthor October 24, 2021 / 7:35 am

    Life is about accepting the bad along with the good, “If I never loved I never would have cried”. Nice choice Fandango.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nope, Not Pam October 24, 2021 / 11:46 am

    It’s a well crafted song.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. JT Twissel October 24, 2021 / 11:56 am

    I remember first hearing that song and boy did it hit home with me. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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