It’s strange to think about something as full of sound as music containing themes of silence. However, a number of artists have written songs about being silent, being quiet, and silence in general over the years. Here are some of the most famous songs about silence for you to learn about. Silence is golden, right?!
The Sound of Silence – Simon & Garfunkel
This Simon & Garfunkel staple is about the ways that humans miscommunicate with one another or fail to communicate completely. It only sold 2000 copies in its original acoustic form, but this remade version became the hit everyone knows today.
Related: See our playlist of songs about being alone.
Silence – Marshmello ft. Khalid
Here’s a track about overcoming loneliness and fears surrounding socialization to connect with others. Khalid was chosen to feature when Marshmello met him during Coachella and gave him a place to sleep. This was Marshmello’s first hit in the UK, reaching Number Three there. It was an international hit, as well, charting in various countries around the world.
Related: See more songs about being on your own.
Quiet Nights Of Quiet Stars (Corcovado) – Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz & Joao Gilberto
This jazz standard is named after the mountain Corcovado in Rio de Janeiro. Writer Antonio Carlos Jobim was born in Brazil. It was one of the first examples of the bossa nova style of music.
Related: Go hike up more classic songs about mountains.
I Better Be Quiet Now – Elliott Smith
Elliott Smith sings of the painful aftermath of a breakup and the loneliness that occurs in such a situation. It highlights how hopeless one can feel from heartbreak.
Related: See our playlist of good breakup songs.
It’s Oh So Quiet – Björk
This is a remake of Betty Hutton’s 1948 song ‘Blow A Fuse.’ It’s about the wild ride that being in love can take you on when compared to the peace of being alone. It was Björk’s biggest hit in the UK, but she didn’t like that a cover that sounded unlike the rest of her music was her most popular piece. As a result, she left it off of her greatest hits albums.
Quiet on tha Set – N.W.A.
This track from N.W.A. is about being confident to the point of near-invincibility. It’s the twelfth song on the soundtrack album for the film Straight Outta Compton.
Silence Kid – Pavement
Pavement sings of the dark side of partying with this tune. The song is not about any personal experiences within the band; instead, it’s meant to be about a more universal human experience. An ink spot on the album’s back cover lead many to believe that the song was called ‘Silence Kit.’
Recommended: Our list of Pavement songs ranked.
Our Lips Are Sealed – The Go-Go’s
The Go-Go’s guitarist Jane Wiedlin wrote this song with musician Terry Hall, whom she had a somewhat secret and forbidden affair with. It was the band’s first hit and a move from punk music to pop music for the group. It slowly climbed charts after being released a single.
Related: Shhh! See more classic secret love songs.
Quiet Place – Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters
This song’s protagonist wishes for some silence on the street so he can get to sleep.This is a classic soul piece released in October 1963 for the album Cry Baby and 11 Other Hits. It was written by Bert Berns and Sam Bell. It’s been covered by Nick Lowe and The Shadows since its release.
Enjoy The Silence – Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode depicts a relationship where words and emotions take the center stage with this piece. Since the protagonist’s words cause damage and hurt, he thinks it’s better to stay silent. It was supposed to be a slower organ ballad but was popular in its speedier version, receiving a Brit award in 1990.
In a Silent Way / It’s About That Time – Miles Davis
This piece is a combination of two tracks, one that’s atmospheric and another that provides contrast with an energetic sound. The raw guitar music was played based on a piano score, giving it a unique and natural sound.
All’s Quiet on the Eastern Front – Ramones
This song, released in July 1981, seems to be about the band’s hometown of New York City, depicting a quiet day in their neighborhood. The title refers to the book All Quiet On The Western Front but isn’t really related to it. Beatnik Termites covered this song in 1997.
Related: Love the Big Apple? Then you’ll love these New York songs.
In the Quiet Morning – Joan Baez
Mimi Farina wrote this tribute song for Janis Joplin. Farina and Tom Jans were the original singers of the track in 1971, but Farina’s sister Joan Baez sang it in 1972. It’s been covered by others since then; two German language variations of the song also exist.
So Quiet in Here – Van Morrison
This song’s protagonist wishes for some silence on the street so he can get to sleep. This is a classic soul piece released in October 1963 for the album Cry Baby and 11 Other Hits. It was written by Bert Burns and Sam Bell, and has been covered by Nick Lowe and The Shadows since its release.
Recommended: Our countdown list of Van the Man’s biggest hits.
Silenced by the Night – Keane
Keane explores the hardships that come with chasing one’s dreams in this single. It was meant to be released as a single only in the United States, but ended up being released worldwide in 2012—except for in Keane’s native UK. It was finally released there about a month after the original release. It premiered on The Jimmy Kimmel Show on 12 March 2012.
More songs about silence:
- Lazy Calm – Cocteau Twins
- The Quiet One – The Who
- Silent Shout – The Knife