Poems > USA > Simon
I am a Rock
By Paul Simon

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, steep 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
Well, I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loed, 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

© 1965 Words and Music by Paul Simon
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Notes: This single had two incarnations. First, as a promotion, it was released on red vinyl to radio stations, with a mono mix on one side and a stereo version on the other. These copies are somewhat difficult to locate for collectors. The standard version sold in stores, however, was the black vinyl 45 rpm record with the red Columbia Records label. The B-side was a version of "Flowers Never Bend with the Rainfall," which was later released on Simon & Garfunkel's even-more-successful (and critically acclaimed) album Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. The single mix of the song features a more prominent lead vocal track (and different phrasing in the opening lines) by Paul Simon, and less reverb, than the more common LP version.
Until 1981, the initial official recording of "I Am a Rock" on The Paul Simon Song Book remained unavailable in North America. This was partly because Simon himself disdained the album, saying on the album's liner notes:
   "This L.P. contains twelve of the songs that I have written over the past two years. There are some here that I would not write today. I don't believe in them as I once did. I have included them because they played an important role in the transition. It is discomforting, almost painful, to look back over something someone else created and realize that someone else was you. I am not ashamed of where I've been and what I've thought. It's just not me anymore. It is perfectly clear to me that the songs I write today will not be mine tomorrow. I don't regret the loss."
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Paul Simon
(Paul Frederic Simon)
Born: October 13, 1941 (age 76 as of 2017), Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.

    "I Am a Rock" is a song written by Paul Simon. It was first performed by Simon alone as the opening track on his album The Paul Simon Songbook which he originally recorded and released in August 1965, only in the United Kingdom. Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, as the American folk rock duo Simon and Garfunkel, re-recorded it on December 14, 1965, and included as the final track on their album Sounds of Silence, which they released on January 17, 1966.
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    Simon has earned sixteen Grammys for his solo and collaborative work, including three for Album of the Year (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, Graceland), and a Lifetime Achievement Award.
   In 2001, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame[.
    In 2006 was selected as one of the "100 People Who Shaped the World" by Time magazine.
    In 2011, Rolling Stone magazine named Simon as one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.
    In 2015, he was named as one of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time by Rolling Stone.
    Among many other honors, Simon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress's Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007.
    In 1986, Simon was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Berklee College of Music, where he currently serves on the Board of Trustees.
Video
I am a Rock
by Simon and Garfunkel