When contrasting the musical styles of Simon and Garfunkel, known for their folk-rock, and the heavy metal band Disturbed, the differences are striking. Yet, Disturbed’s cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Sound of Silence” was an unexpected twist. Disturbed’s lead vocalist, David Draiman, shared that the band didn’t pre-plan covers. Decisions about cover songs were made during album creation, as was the case for their album “Immortalized.” It was drummer Mike Wengren who suggested covering “The Sound of Silence,” a song he often played at home.
While Disturbed is known for a raw, aggressive sound, this cover marked a shift to a softer, more melodic style, influenced by guitarist Dan Donegan. Interestingly, David Draiman’s background as a trained Cantor, a singer leading Jewish congregational prayers, played a significant role in this style shift. His training in this skillful, melodic form of singing was a foundation for this new approach.
Released in August 2015, “Immortalized” achieved number one status in the USA, Canada, and Australia. The single release of “The Sound of Silence” in December also topped the charts in the USA and garnered positive reviews and millions of YouTube views. The band’s live performance on Conan O’Brien’s show caught the attention of Paul Simon, who expressed his admiration to Draiman in an email, praising the powerful performance.
Simon’s recognition didn’t end there. He promoted Disturbed’s cover in interviews and on social media, contributing to the staggering 812 million YouTube views of the music video. This cover resonated not just with Disturbed fans but also with admirers of the original, bridging generations and musical genres. An 82-year-old fan’s comment encapsulates this sentiment, praising the cover for its mesmerizing quality and emotional depth, exemplifying the unifying power of great music.