Bridge Over Troubled Water

Posted by SOTTO Thursday, January 10, 2013

At the gym, on the elliptical, listening to my tunes, I noticed for the first time Paul Simon's "Demo (Take 6)" of "Bridge Over Troubled Water." It's Paul singing, instead of Art, and it's unplugged. No orchestra.

And I'm listening, and Paul does some interesting things on the demo because he can't hit the high notes like Art can. And I'm wondering what kind of song it is, what genre, because I do that. And I realize, this feels like a gospel song.

And then it suddenly hits me why this is a gospel song. Whose words the lyrics are meant to be. And suddenly I'm weeping on the elliptical. Because who else can really make this claim:
When you're weary, feeling small
When tears are in your eyes
I will dry them all
I'm on your side
When times get rough
And friends just can't be found

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down

When you're down and out
When you're on the street
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you
I'll take your part
In darkened roads
When pain is all you find 

Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind
And I realized an important difference between the demo and the original album version. This is the third verse in the album:
Sail on Silver Girl,
Sail on by
Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way
But this is the demo:
Sail on silver girl
Sail on high
Your time has come to shine
Put your faith on me
So go, have a listen. And tell me if that's not one of the most beautiful and powerful gospel songs ever written.


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