Quiz about Song By Song The Boxer
Quiz about Song By Song The Boxer

Song By Song: "The Boxer" Trivia Quiz


This quiz delves into the context and content of Simon & Garfunkel's popular song "The Boxer."

A multiple-choice quiz by skylarb. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
skylarb
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
400,000
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
8 / 10
Plays
397
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
Last 3 plays: Guest 184 (9/10), Guest 72 (7/10), Trivia_Fan54 (10/10).
This quiz has 2 formats: you can play it as a or as shown below.
Scroll down to the bottom for the answer key.
1. "The Boxer" was recorded on Simon and Garfunkel's debut album.

True
False

2. In the original recording, the melody of "The Boxer" was played in unison on which two instruments? Hint

acoustic guitar and saxophone
bass guitar and violin
rhythm guitar and drum
pedal-steel guitar and piccolo trumpet

3. According to Paul Simon in a 1990 interview with "Songtalk" magazine, the "lie-la-lie" chorus of this song was originally intended merely as a place holder.

True
False

4. "The Boxer" is narrated entirely in first person.

True
False

5. According to an interview Paul Simon gave "Playboy" in 1984, who does "The Boxer" represent? Hint

Art Garfunkel
Paul Simon
Muhammad Ali
George Foreman

6. What has the boxer "squandered" for nothing more than "a pocket full of mumbles such are promises"? Hint

his dignity
his resistance
his inheritance
his hope

7. "And he carries the reminders / Of ev'ry glove that laid him down / Or _____ him till he cried out / In his anger and his shame." What word is missing from the blank? Hint

punched
hit
cut
knocked

8. What musician, who himself left home for New York City at the age of 19, covered this song for his album "Self Portrait"? Hint

Rod Stewart
Bob Dylan
Jimi Hendrix
Eric Clapton

9. Paul Simon performed "The Boxer" live with what musician at her 75th birthday concert in 2016? Hint

Emmylou Harris
Joan Baez
June Carter
Sinead O'Connor

10. There was an extra verse to "The Boxer" that was not included on the original single, but it has been sung live.

True
False


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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. "The Boxer" was recorded on Simon and Garfunkel's debut album.

Answer: False

"The Boxer" was recorded on the 1970 album "Bridge Over Trouble Water," which was the duo's fifth and last studio album together. On the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, "The Boxer" peaked at number seven. The song did well internationally, entering the top ten on the singles charts in Austria, the Netherlands, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, Australia, Spain, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden.
2. In the original recording, the melody of "The Boxer" was played in unison on which two instruments?

Answer: pedal-steel guitar and piccolo trumpet

According to an article on BMI.com, session musician Curly Chalker "cut the part on pedal-steel guitar. While recording their lead vocal tracks in a Columbia University chapel a month later, however, Simon and Garfunkel came up with the idea of using a wind instrument as an alternate solo, and the call went out for a piccolo trumpeter. Rather than choose one part over the other, Halee, back in his East 52nd Street control room, experimented by making a single dub of the two diverse instruments."

Charlie McCoy played bass harmonica on the second and last verses of the song. The drumbeat, played only during the refrain (the "lie-la-lie" part) using a snare drum, was laid down by session drummer Hal Blaine.
3. According to Paul Simon in a 1990 interview with "Songtalk" magazine, the "lie-la-lie" chorus of this song was originally intended merely as a place holder.

Answer: True

"I didn't have any words!" Paul Simon said in an interview with "SongTalk" magazine in 1990. So "lie-la-lie" was used as a place holder for the chorus, but it eventually became a permanent part of the song. Simon told the magazine, "People like that and they put enough meaning into it, and the rest of the song has enough power and emotion, I guess, to make it go, so it's all right. But for me, every time I sing that part, I'm a little embarrassed."

Emmylou Harris covered "The Boxer" on her seventh studio album, "Roses in the Snow," which was released in 1980.
4. "The Boxer" is narrated entirely in first person.

Answer: false

The song starts out with first-person ("I") narration:

"I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told."

It continues in first-person narration for the next three stanzas. In the last stanza, however, it switches to third-person ("he") narration:

"In the clearing stands a boxer
And a fighter by his trade
And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down..."

Chet Atkins covered "The Boxer" on his 1970 album "Pickin' My Way."
5. According to an interview Paul Simon gave "Playboy" in 1984, who does "The Boxer" represent?

Answer: Paul Simon

"I think the song was about me," Paul Simon told "Playboy" magazine. "Everybody's beating me up, and I'm telling you now I'm going to go away if you don't stop. By that time we had encountered our first criticism. For the first few years, it was just pure praise."

Waylon Jennings covered "The Boxer" on his 1996 album "Right for the Time."
6. What has the boxer "squandered" for nothing more than "a pocket full of mumbles such are promises"?

Answer: his resistance

"I am just a poor boy
Though my story's seldom told
I have squandered my resistance
For a pocket full of mumbles, such are promises
All lies and jests
Still a man hears what he wants to hear
And disregards the rest."

Lured by false promises, the boxer has not resisted the things or people he should have, and he now seems to regret the fact.

"The Boxer" was included on "Rolling Stone" magazine's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time." It ranked number 106. The magazine describes the song as being "about a New York kid who can't find love, a job or a home."
7. "And he carries the reminders / Of ev'ry glove that laid him down / Or _____ him till he cried out / In his anger and his shame." What word is missing from the blank?

Answer: cut

"And he carries the reminders
Of ev'ry glove that laid him down
Or cut him till he cried out
In his anger and his shame
'I am leaving, I am leaving'"

Despite the abuses he's taken, and his momentary despair, the boxer ultimately endures; he never actually leaves:

"But the fighter still remains, mmm mmm."

Paul Simon makes copious use of alliteration in this verse of the song, with "clearing," "carries," "cut," and "cried."

Mumford & Sons covered "The Boxer," and their version appears as a bonus track on their 2012 album "Babel."
8. What musician, who himself left home for New York City at the age of 19, covered this song for his album "Self Portrait"?

Answer: Bob Dylan

"Self Portrait" was Bob Dylan's 10th studio album. Over half the songs on the album were covers of songs that had influenced him in some way (thus the title). It included traditional songs as well as some more contemporary covers, such as Paul Simon's "The Boxer."

Bob Dylan could perhaps relate to the song as someone who was often criticized for the way he invented and re-invented his music, such that he was even booed when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Given that Dylan left his small hometown of Hibbing, Minnesota when he was just 19 to come to New York City to play, he might have been able to relate to this verse:

"When I left my home and my family
I was no more than a boy
In the company of strangers
In the quiet of the railway station
Running scared,
Laying low, seeking out the poorer quarters
Where the ragged people go
Looking for the places
Only they would know."
9. Paul Simon performed "The Boxer" live with what musician at her 75th birthday concert in 2016?

Answer: Joan Baez

Joan Baez celebrated her 75th birthday on Saturday, January 27, 2016 with a live concert at Bacon Theatre in New York. She performed with Paul Simon, Emmylou Harris, The Indigo Girls, Mavis Staples, Jackson Brown, and others. Joan Baez has frequently sung "The Boxer" in live concerts, and one of her renditions may be heard on her 2008 album "Joan Baez Live."
10. There was an extra verse to "The Boxer" that was not included on the original single, but it has been sung live.

Answer: True

The extra verse contains the following lines:

"Now the years are rolling by me
They are rockin' evenly
I am older than I once was
And younger than I'll be and that's not unusual.
No it isn't strange
After changes upon changes
We are more or less the same
After changes we are more or less the same."

The verse was most likely omitted to shorten the length of the song to make it more usable as a single. This additional verse has often been sung live, however, and can be heard on "The Concert in Central Park" which was recorded live in 1981 and released as a live album in 1982.
Source: Author skylarb

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor agony before going online.
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