From the recording The Boxer
This was one of the first songs Second Wind worked up - we were inspired by Emmylou Harris' version with banjo - the accordian was a bonus. In his 1984 Playboy interview, Paul Simon revealed that he wrote this song when critics were writing harsh things about his music - he was the boxer. Said Simon: "I think the song was about me: 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. It took two or three years for people to realize that we weren't strange creatures that emerged from England but just two guys from Queens who used to sing rock'n'roll. And maybe we weren't real folkies at all! Maybe we weren't even hippies!"