Silence can be a good thing. But, that isn’t always the case, as we shall see with some of the songs that I will be looking at. With silence can come peace and quiet, and it can offer a time of thought and reflection. Sometimes, we all just have to turn off for a while. There are many songs that have been written that talk about this. So, let’s take a look at the best songs about silence.
There is an expression that says that silence is golden. Let’s start there with…
- Top 100 Best Songs About Silence
- 1 Silence Is Golden by The Tremeloes
- 2 Nowhere Man by The Beatles
- 3 It’s Oh So Quiet by Björk
- 4 In The Quiet Morning by Joan Baez
- 5 Peaceful by Kenny Rankin
- 6 Hush by Deep Purple
- 7 The Quiet One by The Who
- 8 So Quiet In Here by Van Morrison
- 9 Quiet by Jason Mraz
- 10 The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
- 11 The Silent Sun – Genesis,
- 12 Silent Lucidity – Queensryche,
- 13 Into the Silence – Robbie Williams,
- 14 Quiet Storm – Smokey Robinson,
- 15 Silent Night – Bing Crosby,
- 16 Silent Partner – John Hiatt,
- 17 Silent Treatment – The Joy Formidable,
- 18 Silent Morning – Noel,
- 19 Silent House – Crowded House,
- 20 Silent Film – They Might Be Giants,
- 21 Absolute Silence is a Way to Hide Something – Between the Buried and Me
- 22 The Calm Before the Storm (Silence in Heaven) – Alpha Wolf
- 23 A Return to Silence – A Whisper in the Noise
- 24 The Silence of the Night – Diabolical Masquerade
- 25 Only Silence Remains – My Dying Bride
- 26 Tragic Silence – Secret Sphere
- 27 The Silence of Being – Dean Evenson
- 28 Between the Silence… And the Light – Kathy’s Song
- 29 Between the Silence – Fiction Factory
- 30 Out of Silence – Jarrod Lawson
- 31 The Silence Inside – Frank Rensen
- 32 Beyond the Silence – TesseracT
- 33 Echoes of Silence – The Weeknd
- 34 The Deafening Silence – Gost
- 35 A Silent Arc – Riverside
- 36 Days of Silence – Echolyn
- 37 Silence Is Only Skin Deep – The Narcotic Daffodils
- 38 Music to Silence to Music – John Cage
- 39 Sounds of Silence – The Nashville Riders
- 40 Mournful Silence – Helrunar
- 41 The Silence and the Storm – The Eternal
- 42 Silence is the Only Sound – Timo Tolkki’s Avalon
- 43 Ashes of Silence – Winds of Plague
- 44 Where Silence Has Lease – A Sound of Thunder
- 45 Silence the Echoes – A Fitting Revenge
- 46 Serenity in Silence – Chelsea Grin
- 47 The Last Silence – Sunless
- 48 The Deadening Silence – Cannibal Corpse
- 49 Silent All These Years – Tori Amos,
- 50 Silent Running – Mike + The Mechanics,
- More 50 Best Songs About Silence
- Looking for Great Songs?
- Best Songs About Silence – Conclusion
Top 100 Best Songs About Silence
Silence Is Golden by The Tremeloes
The Tremeloes have an interesting and quite surprising history. First known as Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, they were popular in the growing London scene. Not in the same way as John Mayall and The Yardbirds in the blues clubs, but in the pop clubs.
The story goes like this…
Decca records were looking for a new band for a recording contract and decided to invite two bands to audition. Brian Poole and the Tremeloes were one; the others were some lot from “up north” called The Beatles.
The Beatles lost and later went to Parlophone, and the rest is history. Brian Poole and the Tremeloes released their first single, “Twist & Shout,” the same song The Beatles made famous a year later. It did well, reaching #4 in the UK.
They carried on being quite successful until Brian Poole decided to go solo. He didn’t make it, but the renamed Tremeloes did. “Silence is Golden” was one of a string of hits the band had through the 60s and 70s.
A copycat song…
“Silence Is Golden” is a cover version of a song originally recorded by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons. It came out in 1964 as the B-side of one of the greatest tracks, “Rag Doll.”
The Tremeloes version is virtually identical to the Four Seasons version, even down to the falsetto voices. It went to #1 in the UK, and despite some reasonable chart success later, it was the only #1 they achieved.
Nowhere Man by The Beatles
This is a John Lennon song at a time when his writing was moving away from “boy meets girl” to more serious issues. It was released in 1965 on the album Rubber Soul. It was also released in America as a single, where it reached #3.
The Power of Silence
It is a song about loneliness and desperation more than a song about silence. Sometimes, when you are alone at night, the silence can be deafening, almost suffocating in its presence. You might even wish for some sounds to shatter that silence.
But, this is also a very sad and reflective song. A “nowhere man making all his nowhere plans for nobody.” And, lying there in his silence, he can imagine all these plans without realizing they will never happen.
His silence has carried him away to another place. I suppose you could call it a form of a daydream. That said, I feel it qualifies as one of the best songs about silence, just the same.
It’s Oh So Quiet by Björk
This is a song with a bit of history as well. It was originally a German and Austrian song written by Hans Lang and Erich Meder. In its original form, the song was called “Und Jetzt ist es Still”. It was first performed by Horst Winter in 1948.
A French version called “Tout est tranquille” came out in 1949 by Ginette Garcin. It was given English lyrics and covered again for the American market in 1951 by Betty Hutton.
Not A New Song
By the time Bjork got hold of it in 1995, it could hardly be called a new song. However, she created a new emotion with the song that hadn’t been there before. She included the song on her second album, Post.
It was the third single taken from Post and was her most successful single, reaching #4 in the UK. It was certified gold by selling over 400,000 copies.
Bjork was from Iceland, not known for their great rock musicians, but she was something different. An Icelandic Kate Bush if you like, but perhaps a bit more extreme. What she did with her music might not have appealed to everyone, but she gave it something quite unique.
She took this song about silence and added a haunting, almost hypnotic feel. She sings about the power of silence, how it can be rather unsettling but also a source of comfort at the same time.
It can make us feel connected to our environment, but it can also make us feel very alone. Silence can be a very powerful experience, and that is the feeling she puts across in this version.
Besides its success in the UK, it was also successful in Australia, France, Sweden, Canada, and of course, Iceland. It reached #33 in America. If you want a unique song about being quiet, give this one a listen.
In The Quiet Morning by Joan Baez
Some artists need no introduction whatsoever, and Joan Baez falls into that category. An icon since the 60s, she has produced some memorable recordings and songs. Singer, songwriter, and activist, after 60 years of performing and over 30 albums, she is still working.
This is a song written as a tribute to Janis Joplin by Joan Baez’s sister Mimi Farina. Mimi recorded it first in 1971 with Tom Jans. Joan Baez released it in 1972. It was included on her album, Come From The Shadows.
She knew how to cover a song…
Although a songwriter in her own right, she often chose to explore the work of others. Her recordings in the early days of Bob Dylan’s compositions are well-known. With this album, not only did she include her sister’s “In the Quiet Morning” but also a version of John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
“In the Quiet Morning” is a wistful song about being alone and quietly thinking in the early morning silence. In this case, about a life gone too early. When it comes to the best songs about silence, this one is a classic.
Peaceful by Kenny Rankin
Here is a song by someone that, to me, was one of the great undiscovered talents. He is well-known in some circles, but his talent should have made him the equal of many of his contemporaries. This song was taken from his first album, Mind-Dusters, released in 1967.
Helen Reddy and Georgie Fame both recorded the song after Kenny, and both had success with it. Although, their versions didn’t have that basic simplicity that Kenny’s work enjoyed.
The title says it all. Finding a quiet, peaceful place with “no one bending over my shoulder, nobody breathing in my ear.” Just lying back and enjoying the silence and the peace it brings.
Hush by Deep Purple
“Hush” was composed by Joe South for Billy Joe Royal, although it has to be said it was rather different in its original format. It sounds pretty much the same but without… how can you put it?… Deep Purple.
Richie Blackmore heard the song on the radio and thought it would make a good song for their live performances. It wasn’t the Purple that we came to know later who recorded it.
This version included Rod Evans (not Ian Gillan) on vocals and Nick Simper (not Roger Glover) on bass. It was included on their first album, Shades of Deep Purple.
A quiet reception…
It was released in the UK in 1968, and not many people took any notice. In America, it did much better when it reached #4. Then, it was re-recorded with new members Ian Gillan on vocals and Roger Glover on bass, but still only managed #62 in the UK.
It is a song with an even more interesting history. Joe South, when he wrote it, adopted a lyric from a spiritual that said, “Hush, I thought I hear Jesus calling my name.”
The essence of the song is someone craving silence in case his lost love calls his name, and he might not hear her.
The Quiet One by The Who
This is a track that was written by John Entwhistle. It was included on the first album they recorded without Keith Moon called Face Dances.
In some ways, this is an autobiographical track from The Who’s “quiet man,” the silent one. And quiet he was, except for that thundering bass that was so much a part of The Who’s sound.
It is a track that is sometimes overlooked as it was placed as the B-side to the much better known “You Better You Bet.”
The power of silence…
This is a song about a person sitting in silence, who is isolated and feeling lost. John talks about how the silence and the darkness can be a comfort at times and how sometimes he just wants to be left alone.
It paints a picture of the powerful effect that silence can have on us. Not a typical Who track at all. And, it is not hard to feel the difference without having Keith Moon hammering away.
Kenney Jones, a very good drummer at the time, was giving it his all, but it just wasn’t the same. But then, it never was going to be. However, the lyrics are well-crafted and paint the picture they want you to get.
So Quiet In Here by Van Morrison
This is a song that can be interpreted in several ways. However, his constant repeating of the line “This must be what paradise is like” gives you a clue. He talks about it being so quiet and so peaceful and says, “this is what it is all about.”
It was included on his album, Enlightenment, which was released in 1990 and reached #5 on the UK album chart and #62 in America.
It was a part of a collection of other songs that were recorded on other albums. All of them with a similar theme of finding peace within and being happy with yourself.
Quiet by Jason Mraz
Sometimes, peace and silence don’t find us; we have to go and find them. This is a song that talks about those times when it is important to try and find some peace and quiet.
It is essentially an acoustic ballad that has some nice additions as we move through the arrangement. Towards the end, it has orchestral support as well as nice backing harmonies.
The words are quite simple and to the point. And, they remind us that it is important to sometimes just take some time for ourselves.
The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
When looking at the greatest songs about silence, is there a better place to finish than this? If you say the names, Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, this will always be one of the first songs you will think of.
The song was written by Paul Simon. He started work on it in 1963 and finished the following year. They recorded an acoustic version for their first album release, Wednesday Morning at 3AM, in 1964.
The album failed to make an impact, and they disbanded (for the first time), with Paul returning to “his Kathy” in the UK. Without their knowledge, however, momentum was building for this track, and the song was getting a lot of airplay.
The sounds of silence were being heard…
This prompted a remix with added guitars and drums overdubbed that they knew nothing about. It was released in 1965 in its new format and went #1 in America the following year. They hastily reformed and recorded their second album, Sounds Of Silence.
The song was included in the film “The Graduate,” and the rest is history. Certainly one of the sounds of the 60s, it has become one of the sounds of the last 60 years. Always a fixture in their concerts, it became more than just a song.
Levels of meaning…
All of which emphasizes the genius of Paul Simon’s writing. It is about how humans can confuse issues through miscommunications. But, it is also a song about the power of silence. About how, despite any sound, things are happening, often that we have no control over. “Silence like a cancer grows.”
And about how the most basic of human understanding can be gleaned from what seem to be the most unlikely places. “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls, and tenement halls.”
The power of silence is encapsulated in this song. And, if I had to choose ten of the best songs ever, on any subject, this would be in there. The wondrous Paul Simon.
The Silent Sun – Genesis,
Silent Lucidity – Queensryche,
Into the Silence – Robbie Williams,
Quiet Storm – Smokey Robinson,
Silent Night – Bing Crosby,
Silent Partner – John Hiatt,
Silent Treatment – The Joy Formidable,
Silent Morning – Noel,
Silent House – Crowded House,
Silent Film – They Might Be Giants,
Absolute Silence is a Way to Hide Something – Between the Buried and Me
The Calm Before the Storm (Silence in Heaven) – Alpha Wolf
A Return to Silence – A Whisper in the Noise
The Silence of the Night – Diabolical Masquerade
Only Silence Remains – My Dying Bride
Tragic Silence – Secret Sphere
The Silence of Being – Dean Evenson
Between the Silence… And the Light – Kathy’s Song
Between the Silence – Fiction Factory
Out of Silence – Jarrod Lawson
The Silence Inside – Frank Rensen
Beyond the Silence – TesseracT
Echoes of Silence – The Weeknd
The Deafening Silence – Gost
A Silent Arc – Riverside
Days of Silence – Echolyn
Silence Is Only Skin Deep – The Narcotic Daffodils
Music to Silence to Music – John Cage
Sounds of Silence – The Nashville Riders
Mournful Silence – Helrunar
The Silence and the Storm – The Eternal
Silence is the Only Sound – Timo Tolkki’s Avalon
Ashes of Silence – Winds of Plague
Where Silence Has Lease – A Sound of Thunder
Silence the Echoes – A Fitting Revenge
Serenity in Silence – Chelsea Grin
The Last Silence – Sunless
The Deadening Silence – Cannibal Corpse
Silent All These Years – Tori Amos,
Silent Running – Mike + The Mechanics,
More 50 Best Songs About Silence
- Embrace the Silence – Evanescence
- An Ocean of Silence – Anathema
- Requiem for Silence – And Oceans
- The Sweetest Silence – The Black Maria
- The Silence of Innocence – Crisis
- The Silence of the Dead – The Electric Hellfire Club
- Silence Kid – Pavement
- The Sound of Silence (Electric Version) – Disturbed
- Silence is the Way – The Twilight Singers
- The Silence of Sirens – Jónsi & Alex Somers
- Safe and Sound in Silence – Kaki King
- Silence Teaches You How to Sing – Ulver
- Beyond the Silent Night – Carl Craig
- The Space Between Silence and Light – A Winged Victory For The Sullen
- One Minute of Silence – William Basinski
- The Sound of Silence (Reimagined) – Pentatonix
- The End of Silence – Henry Saiz
- It’s Raining, It’s Pouring (The Dark Ambient Version) – Silent Poets
- Quiet Times – Dido
- Sssshhh… (For a Little While) – James Blake
- When Silence Reigns – Andrew Peterson
- The Quiet Joys of Brotherhood – Richard Thompson
- Chasing Silhouettes – Matthew Perryman Jones
- Stillness Is the Move – Dirty Projectors
- 4’33” – John Cage
- Silent Sigh – Badly Drawn Boy
- Still Life – The Horrors
- Silence is the Key – Roger Waters
- Silence is a Scar – NO
- In the Quiet of Christmas Morning (Bach 147) – Mannheim Steamroller
- Silence is Consent – Head Automatica
- A Quiet Darkness – Houses
- Speak Silence – Anna Nalick
- The Quiet Crowd – Patrick Watson
- The Silent Enigma – Anathema
- Silently – Blonde Redhead
- Whispered Words (Pretty Lies) – Dan Owen
- Silence Kit – Pavement
- Silent – DAMN YANKEES
- I Heard Silence – Sheryl Crow
- Speak in Silence – Live
- Shhh – Prince
- Silence and Motion – The Classic Crime
- Silent as the Grave – Dave Matthews Band
- Silence – Marshmello ft. Khalid,
- The Siren’s Silence – Theocracy
- Silence In The Snow – Trivium
- Moments of Silence – Yanni
- Wounded by Silence – Another Tale
- The Silence Before Bach – Juan Manuel Quintana
Looking for Great Songs?
We can help. Take a look at our detailed articles on the Best Songs About Friendship, the Best Songs About Magic, the Best Songs About Dreams, the Best Songs About Change, the Best Songs About Walking, and the Best Songs About Heroes for more wonderful song selections.
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Best Songs About Silence – Conclusion
Silence is a strange thing. If you try and define it or explain it, you will find it is not possible. It is more than there just being no sound. It is something that can be overpowering, it can be rewarding, and in some cases, it can be dangerous.
But, it can also be a great blessing and an inspiration. A time when you can see things more clearly. This, I think, has been shown in the lyrics of some of the songs we have looked at here.
Silence can overpower you at times, and you may wish for something to alleviate the feeling of loneliness and isolation. Who could imagine that, what is essentially nothing, could have such power? But it does.
Until next time, happy listening.