Richard Cory

Album: Sounds of Silence (1966)

Songfacts®:

  • This song is based on the poem Richard Cory by Edwin Arlington Robinson. In the poem, Richard Cory was the envy of all who encountered him. Everyone thought he had it all. They saw his money, felt his power, knew his intelligence, and never once did they doubt his happiness. They looked upon him as more than mere man, and they desired to be looked upon in that way, too. They assumed that living like Richard Cory would bring elusive happiness. The poem indicates that everyone kept their distance. Richard Cory lead an unbearably lonely life. His money did not buy happiness nor did it bring him friends.

    Both the song and the poem tell of Richard Cory's ultimate suicide; however, the song ends slightly differently, declaring in the final chorus that even after his death, the people wanted to be like Richard Cory. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Neil - Adelaide, Australia

Comments: 7

  • David from Lawrence, MaCorrection to the post by Alan, Valdosta, GA. Paul McCartney does not sing Richard Cory on Wings Over America. Denny Laine (former lead singer of the Moody Blues prior to Days of Future Passed) sings it.
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvAwesome song, one of Simon and Garfunkel's best, like at first you think it's a cheery song, then you get to the part where he put a bullet through his head! Great song.
  • Drew from B'ham, AlDon't forget another distinction: Richard Cory was a fairly generous friend to man & the "most peculiar man" was entirely unfriendly.
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NyThe line "And my mind was filled with wonder when the evening headlines said/ "Richard Cory went home last night and put a bullet through his head" makes me think of the Post.
  • Jay from Brooklyn, NyOn the "Sounds of Silence" album, Richard Cory is followed immidiately by A Most Peculiar Man, another song about suicide. The "most peculiar man" is almost the exact opposite of Richard Cory - he is anonymous and unimportant. His death didn't make headlines. The world will soon forget him. It is an interesting juxtaposition to hear these songs back to back.
  • Alan from Valdosta, GaPaul McCartney and Wings did a cover of this song on their Wings Over America concert triple-album. In this cover version McCartney sings "Oh, I wish that I could be, oh I wish that I could be, Oh I wish that I could be .... John Denver!"
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaThis song made me think about "what is happiness" and how you're responsicle for your own happiness when I was 12 years old. Thank you, Tom & Jeff!
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