Paul Simon was nearly finished with the 1969 Simon & Garfunkel classic "The Boxer" at a concert in Berkeley, California, on Friday night when he paused the song. "I'm sorry to tell you this, and this way," he said, as the audience clapped, "but Muhammad Ali passed away." The crowd responded with audible sadness, and Simon picked up the song again: "In the clearing stands a boxer, a fighter by his trade..." Boxing legend Ali's death on Friday, at age 74, had just been publicly disclosed.
The song was during Simon's six-song encore, reports Jim Harrington at the San Jose Mercury News, "and the swift change in mood seemed to make the last song of the night — Simon & Garfunkel's sobering 'The Sound of Silence' — seem all that more poignant.” You can watch that moment below. Peter Weber
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.