Simon & Garfunkel

The Dangling Conversation

Song Review by

"Dangling Conversation" is a classic example of a good song and a better arrangement that tried to do too much within the context of popular music. The first of Paul Simon's major songs after "The Sounds of Silence" that did not capture the imagination of the public. In that sense, it's usually regarded as a failure for not making the Top Ten. In fact, it was the last of Simon's attempts at "literary rock" -- as a follow-up to "Richard Cory" and "I Am a Rock," it was also the most subtle of them, a single acoustic guitar backed by a string section and a single drum that may have been too sophisticated for the AM radio of its period. The song's references to "Emily Dickinson" and "Robert Frost" were not only non sequiturs when juxtaposed, to anyone who was familiar with the two literary figures, but also alienated teenagers and adults who might not have paid attention in their high school or college English classes. In the end, sophisticated listeners tolerated it without embracing the song, and casual audiences kept it at arm's length, where its literary conceits seemed to be keeping them. The song was part of Simon & Garfunkel's concert sets in late 1966 and 1967, but was quickly dropped once they had more new repertory established.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme 1966 Columbia 2:37
Collected Works 1981 Columbia 2:40
Old Friends 1997 Columbia / Legacy 2:37
The Best of Simon & Garfunkel 1999 Columbia / Legacy 2:38
The Very Best of Simon & Garfunkel: Tales from New York 2000 Columbia / Legacy 2:38
The Columbia Studio Recordings, 1964-1970 2001 Legacy / Columbia 2:41
The Essential Simon & Garfunkel 2003 Columbia / Legacy 2:38
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme/Bridge Over Troubled Water 2008 Sony Music Distribution 2:41
The Essential 3.0 2010 Columbia / Legacy / Sony Legacy 2:38
The Complete Albums Collection 2014 Sony Legacy 3:01