Hazy Shade of Winter (as made famous by Simon and Garfunkel)

“A Hazy Shade of Winter” is a song by American music duo Simon & Garfunkel, released on October 22, 1966, initially as a stand-alone single, but was subsequently included on the duo’s fourth studio album, Bookends (1968). The song peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100.[1]

In 1987, The Bangles recorded a cover version of the song for the Less Than Zero soundtrack; that version peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100.

The duo recorded “A Hazy Shade of Winter” during the sessions for Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966), but the song was not included on an album until 1968’s Bookends.[2]

“A Hazy Shade of Winter” follows a more rock-tinged sound, with a fairly straightforward verse-refrain structure.[3] The song dates back to Simon’s days in England in 1965. The song follows a hopeless poet, with “manuscripts of unpublished rhyme”, unsure of his achievements in life.[3]

The lyrics recall the transition from fall to winter, as suggested by the repetition of the final chorus of the song:

I look around,
leaves are brown
And the sky
is a hazy shade of winter

Look around,
leaves are brown
There’s a patch of snow on the ground.[4]
Author and disc jockey Pete Fornatale considered the lyrics evocative of, and standing in contrast with, those of John Phillips’ “California Dreamin'”.[5][6]