The Boxer - chords, tab and comments
In -70 I invented A minor chord, all by myself, after playing everything with major chords since I grabbed a guitar for the first time : impressing nobody but my parents. This song was repeated on the radio every day, and the lyrics were released in magazines. But something was wrong with the harmony. More or less by accident, I put a finger on G-string 2th fret ...
A few years later, I had learned fingerpicking, and performed my own norwegian version in Drammen Theater. At least a score applauded: my classmates and my parents. They'd got tickets for free.
The song is from "Bridge over Troubled Water" (1970), the S&G-duo's 5th and last studio album. A large and complicated production at that time, but it remained Columbia's best-selling album until Michael Jackson released "Thriller" in 1982. The studio recording of "The Boxer" took more than 100 hours to complete, with endless retakes and additions, and is the only S&G-song where Garfunkel is credited author, briefly for the arrangement. The result was stunning, but I still wonder why Charlie McCoy frequently goes "wa-wa-wa" on bass harmonica exclusively on right channel, a muffled bass "dup-ta-dup" exclusively on left channel and the famous *clash* after lie-la-lie drops down in center with no echoes to left nor right ... well, those were the days.
After 40 years I've decided to include it with my humble "album", and I'v taken it down to G key instead of C. My norwegian version is lost many years ago, fortunately. Mumferd & Sons on "Babels" featuring Jerry Douglas on dobro gave me a kick back last year, so I leave with you the simple chords, and the lost 4th verse (on lyrics page).
I am just a poor boy
though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
for a pocketful of mumbles
such are promises
all lies and jest
still a man hears what he wants to hear
Am G ... D7
and disregards the rest
when I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
in the company of strangers
in the quiet of a railway station
Em D C
laying low seeking out the poorer quarters
where the ragged people go
D D7 G
looking for the places only they would know
G Em D D7 Em
lie-la-lie lie-la-lie-di-lie-di-lie lie-la-lie
C D D7 G
then I'm laying out my winter clothes
and wishing I was gone
Am D7 G
where the New York City winters aren't bleeding me
Bm ... Em
D ... D7 ...G