Songs to the Siren

About this blog...
Atom feed

7 O’Clock News/Silent Night

Simon and Garfunkel

10th October 1966🇺🇸

This version of the early-19th Century Christmas carol is mixed with a simulated news bulletin based on events of 3rd August 1966.

No mention, sadly, of England’s World Cup win only five days previous.

The carol Silent Night was written around 1820 for voice and guitar, originally in German. Here it is performed with the usual English translation in two-part harmony, but with piano as the accompanying instrument.

Records of this era often used stereo in a very simplistic way, and this is the same but it works so well here. The piano is on the left, the vocals centre, and the news bulletin on the right. The news reading fades in through the song, starting in the background and becoming gradually dominant.

The stories covered by the bulletin are:

  • A compromise being made in President Johnson’s civil rights bull, where he wanted a total end to discrimination in housing, but needed to back off to get it through.

  • The death of comedian Lenny Bruce.

  • A planned protest march led by Martin Luther King Jr, which was to be met by the National Guard.

  • Indictment of serial killer Richard Speck.

  • Protests at government hearings into protests against the Vietnam War.

  • Richard Nixon urging an increase in the Vietnam war effort.

The combination of the beautiful, peaceful, song, and the ugly news report, is quite something.