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Old 07-15-2007, 06:33 PM   #1
B45-12
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After nearly four decades of listening to and loving Paul Simon's classic "The Boxer" I have come to the realization that this great song may indeed be the result of a heavy influence by none other than Gord.
I never even heard HFTF until I started really listening to GL after GORD's GOLD was released. Then, like so many others, I began to backtrack his entire catalog to the U/A years and have remained a loyal GL guy since.
I have also performed both songs hundreds of times in many gig settings and never made the connection until now!
The guitar picking style, the theme of the songs, and even the recording styles are eerily similar. The main difference between the two is that Paul used a "HOOK" line throughout in the form of:
Li-la-li...li-la-li li li li li...etc. And, they threw the big guns at the production at the old CBS studios in NYC. Gord just sang and played from start to finish singing through the verses.
And let's not forget (for those who do not know) the incredible intro to The Boxer as recorded by the great Fred Carter Jr. (Deanna's Dad). Paul asked him to design an intro for the song and he came up with that classic intro in a matter of minutes in the studio on the fly!

Here is a cutout I took from Wikipedia:

Fred settled into the Nashville session scene in the early 1960s, becoming one of its most prominent players for the next two decades. His influence was not confined to Nashville however and he was a fixture in the folk music genre of the late 1960s and early 1970s. Fred can be heard on a multitude of Simon and Garfunkel classics - most notably "The Boxer" in which he played four guitars, including the memorable finger-picking intro and conclusion.

Fred also played with Ronnie Hawkins "The Hawk" for many years in the early days!

But as I conclude...I have A/B'd these two great songs today a few times....and I am completely convinced that Gordon Lightfoot planted the seed for The Boxer.

I do not think that it goes as far as plagiarism, but keep in mind that HFTF was 1967 and The Boxer was released the following year.

That's just my observation and I am very interested in your input!

Stay Cool!
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Old 07-15-2007, 07:38 PM   #2
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As far as I'm concerned, your premise would be hard to argue with. Both songs are classics and do have a similarity in melodic structure.

It's nice to see one of the great studio musicians given some note. I really know little about his work, but it seems I saw Fred Carter's name mentioned many, many times in album credits. Good thought.

Stay Loose !
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Old 07-18-2007, 09:30 PM   #3
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Though I don't think he ever appeared on any of Gord's albums gord apparently knew and hung out with Fred Carter. Read an interview with Deanna who said she remebered Gord being around with her dad and liking his music
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Old 07-18-2007, 11:34 PM   #4
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To all replies so far.....

I know little about Fred Carter Jr. myself. You will find him on John Stewart's (Wingless Angels, I think)..and other Simon and Garfunkel LP's and hits.

I though he played on Gord's "Summer Side of Life" - but I guess that is not the case.

It's good to hear that GL hung out with Fred. Makes one wonder why they never hooked up in the studio.

But - if I may return to my initial post...

Do you agree that the similarities between these two songs is uncanny? If you are not a musician, or for that matter musical at all - you may not hear it as much....but to me it is so obvious and again - I cannot believe that it took me all these years to notice.

Ron J: I have a decent and acceptable intro that has worked for years..sort of a hybrid of two guitar parts played on one. In the right setting it brings the house down - which only means that I have managed to make it recognizable as The Boxer.
But it would be tough to pass along without sitting face to face for a few hours.

Hopefully some day!

Paul Simon usually avoids attempting to play the intro in concert. Just sorta starts out Travis picking the C chord. Crowd doesn't seem to mind!

Okay Mr.Lightfoot....I hereby give you credit for 1-1/2 of these two songs...

If only HFTF realized the same payday as The Boxer!

See ya soon!
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Old 07-21-2007, 12:21 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by lighthead2toe:
Two really great songs and I also do them both in my gigs. Would love to know just what that magic intro is in "The Boxer" and even if I could bring in a close second I'd be more than happy. Can anyone help? Thanks guys for this great topic. Ron J.
Hint: Cathy Cowette.
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Old 07-21-2007, 02:45 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by B45-12:
To all replies so far.....


Ron J: I have a decent and acceptable intro that has worked for years..sort of a hybrid of two guitar parts played on one. In the right setting it brings the house down - which only means that I have managed to make it recognizable as The Boxer.
But it would be tough to pass along without sitting face to face for a few hours.

Hopefully some day!

See ya soon!
Just two thoughts B45
  • If you are in Northern California you are not too far from Ron Jones in Vancouver
  • You should definitely make the effort to attend the upcoming jollifications sHed-yuled for May 2008 in Toronto
Although the idea of you and Ron both at the inevitable jam session wielding B45s is so drool making I doubt if Kenyon Wallace could stand it!

[ July 23, 2007, 16:43: Message edited by: johnfowles ]
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Old 07-21-2007, 05:01 PM   #7
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I love the boxer and HFTF, but, I am NO expert on this topic. Just love the music..
Gwen
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Old 07-21-2007, 05:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by gwen snyder:
I love the boxer and HFTF, but, I am NO expert on this topic. Just love the music..
Gwen
Welcome back Gwen, you've been missed.
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Old 07-23-2007, 02:11 AM   #9
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[ July 23, 2007, 02:17: Message edited by: B45-12 ]
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Old 07-23-2007, 02:19 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by johnfowles:
quote:Originally posted by B45-12:
To all replies so far.....


Just two thoughts B45
  • If you are in Northern California you are not too far from Ron Jones in Vancouver
  • You should definitely make the effort to attend the upcoming jollifications sked-yuled for May 2008 in Toronto
Although the idea of you and Ron both at the inevitable jam session wielding B45s is so drool making I doubt if Kenyon Wallace could stand it!
[/QUOTE]I will make every effort to attend!
And let the drooling commence.
(sorry - but I am lost on the Kenyon Wallace ref)
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Old 07-23-2007, 02:54 PM   #11
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"I know little about Fred Carter Jr. myself. You will find him on John Stewart's (Wingless Angels, I think)..and other Simon and Garfunkel LP's and hits."

Fred produced and did some amazing work on John Stewart's Cannons in the Rain.

I had not made the HFTF the Boxer connection but am now having a hard time getting it out of my head.
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:29 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by fezo:
I had not made the HFTF the Boxer connection but am now having a hard time getting it out of my head.
I know the feeling.

Your mention of Carter's work and direction on "Cannons in the Rain" sent me to the LP. There, I found some tidbits of interest :
"Recorded in Nashville January 8-12, 1973"
'Durango'---the dedication states "For Peckinpah, Gordan (sic), and Kris"

Who's Gordan ??
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:15 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by RM:
quote:Originally posted by fezo:
I had not made the HFTF the Boxer connection but am now having a hard time getting it out of my head.
I know the feeling.

Your mention of Carter's work and direction on "Cannons in the Rain" sent me to the LP. There, I found some tidbits of interest :
"Recorded in Nashville January 8-12, 1973"
'Durango'---the dedication states "For Peckinpah, Gordan (sic), and Kris"


Who's Gordan ??
[/QUOTE]Thanks for the correction. I knew Fred worked with John - and all I had to do was to walk about ten feet from this computer and grab some CD's or LP's and I coulda got it right the first time!
YES - It was Cannons in the Rain.

Happy to see some responses regarding the similarities between "Home From The Forest" and "The Boxer."
Both picked nearly identical, both are sad stories about a down-and-outer, and both follow similar chord patterns.

Gordan? No Clue...possibly....??

//o-o\\
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by gwen snyder:
I love the boxer and HFTF, but, I am NO expert on this topic. Just love the music..
Gwen
No expertise required Gwen...it's sorta like - uh,
take the song "La Bamba" and slow it down a bit and whatya got? "Twist And Shout."

Speed it up and you have "Good Lovin'" by The Rascals.

It all used to be one big 3-chord conspiracy!

But after all is said and done....I just love the music too!

Denny


"...ideas are a dime a dozen, implementation is everything." (unknown)
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Old 07-23-2007, 10:34 PM   #15
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[quote]Originally posted by RM:
Quote:
Originally posted by fezo:
[qb] I had not made the HFTF the Boxer connection but am now having a hard time getting it out of my head.
I am experiencing the same thing...!
I never heard a song like either of these until the late 60's; and now to make some sort of connection makes me wonder and appreciate just how much these GIANTS did feed off of each other.

(By Giants - I mean all of the "greats" that existed from the early 60's - 70's. Singer/songwriters primarily.) It's all good!
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