Paul Simon‘s Newark and Queens upbringing doesn’t always seem as intrinsic to his musical identity as it is for other New York City-affiliated musicians, but the songwriter’s background came to the forefront yesterday at the site where the World Trade Center stood, as he played the 1964 Simon & Garfunkel single “The Sound of Silence” for the gathered crowd. His performance was reportedly one of the most powerful moments of the September 11 memorial service, and after watching the footage above, we believe it. Simon has performed in a similar capacity before, most notably his performance of “The Boxer” as part of the tribute that opened the September 29, 2001 episode of Saturday Night Live.
Interestingly, the official program for the tenth anniversary ceremony indicated that Simon would be performing “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” the 1970 single that was originally sung by Art Garfunkel, and which would also have been appropriate. Nevertheless Simon’s decision to sing “The Sound of Silence” instead made the performance all the more moving and memorable.