Hello darkness, my old friend

About

"Hello Darkness, My Old Friend" is the opening lyric from the 1964 soft rock song “The Sound of Silence” performed by the American folk rock duo Simon & Garfunkel. Online, the introduction of the song is often used as background music in a variety of parody and remix videos for dramatic effect.

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Origin

In October 1964, Simon and Garfunkel released the song "The Sound of Silence" as a track on their debut studio album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., which features the lyrics "hello darkness, my old friend" in the first verse.

Hello darkness, my old friendI"ve come to talk with you againBecause a vision softly creepingLeft its seeds while I was sleepingAnd the vision that was planted in my brainStill remainsWithin the sound of silence

In May 2013, Season 4 of the American sitcom Arrested Development was released on Netflix, which contained several scenes featuring the song when the character Gob experiences a moment of deep regret (shown below). Following the season"s release, search interest for the phrases "hello darkness" and "hello darkness my old friend" saw a dramatic spike on Google Trends.


Spread

On July 8th, 2014, YouTuber Joe Bell uploaded a clip of the Sad Brazilian Fan with "The Sound of Silence" playing in the background (shown below, left). On July 30th, YouTuber convulsion0inc uploaded footage of electronic dance music producer David Guetta performing at the Tomorrowland music festival with "The Sound of Silence" dubbed in the background (shown below, right). The following day, Redditor dragonsky posted the video to the /r/youtubehaiku<4> subreddit. Within two years, the videos received upwards of 7.1 million views and 1.3 million views respectively (92% upvoted).

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On January 27th, 2015, Redditor larperdoodle submitted a post titled "Hello dankness my old friend" followed by the phrase "I"ve come to browse your memes again" to the /r/dankmemes<6> subreddit. The same lyric was subsequently used in a page on the humor site DankMayMays<7> featuring the Gnome Child with "The Sound of Silence" playing in the background (shown below).

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On February 7th, the /r/TheSoundofSilence<3> subreddit was launched, featuring various YouTube videos with the song edited into the background audio. On March 14th, YouTuber rockwillor uploaded footage of feminist protester Chanty Binx with "The Sound of Silence" verse playing at the end of the clip (shown below, left). On May 1st, YouTuber TeamZoo uploaded a video of a man appearing expressionless while riding a reverse bungee thrill ride with "The Sound of Silence" playing in the background (shown below, right). In four months, the video gained over 1.2 million views and 580 comments. On July 25th, Redditor beet111 submitted the video to the /r/videos<2> subreddit, where it received more than 5,700 upvotes (89% upvoted) and 700 comments in two months.


2016 Billboard Hot Rock Songs

On March 24th 2016, Yahoo! News published a video interview with the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice lead actors Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, in which they were asked how they felt about the mixed to negative reviews the film had received. Cavill then took the lead in answering the question while Affleck remained seated in silence with a noticeably sad look on his face. That same day, YouTuber Sabconth created a parody of the interview clip titled Sad Affleck, featuring a collage of headlines from review articles, indicating the negative reception of the movie, set to the intro from "The Sound of Silence"(shown below). Within three weeks, the video gained more than 21 million views and 32,500 comments.


On March 29th, the heavy metal band Disturbed performed a live cover of "The Sound of Silence" during an appearance on the late night talk show Conan (shown below). Within two weeks of being uploaded to YouTube, a recording of the performance gathered upwards of 2.02 million views and 4,00 comments.


Billboard Hot Rock Chart

In April 2016, "The Sound of Silence" reached the No. 6 position on the Billboard"s Hot Rock Songs chart. On April 6th, Billboard<8> published an article revealing that the song"s resurgence in popularity was influenced by the Sad Affleck video and Disturbed"s cover. Additionally, Billboard reported that the song had reached the No. 2 position on the Rock Streaming Songs chart, with upwards of 5.6 million streams up 582 percent.