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Dancing with the Stars: The Story Behind 'The Sound of Silence' Cover for Nyle DiMarco's Finale Dance

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Yu Tsai

Nyle DiMarco is known for his powerful performances on Dancing with the Stars, but he’s still turning things up a notch for finale week.

DiMarco and his partner Peta Murgatroyd performed a contemporary-freestyle dance Monday to Disturbed’s cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic “The Sound of Silence,” which DiMarco feels resonates with being deaf.

“My interpretation of the song is that for hundreds of years my Deaf community has suffered oppression, marginalization, and language deprivation … but now we’re starting to find hope in this new world,” he wrote on Facebook. “It is time for our soundless message to be heard, hence the Sound of Silence… It is our time.”

He earned a dazzling 30 out of 30 from the judges, with Carrie Ann Inaba declaring it the best she’s seen in 22 seasons of the show.

Find out more about Disturbed – a heavy metal band best known for their early 2000s hits “Stupify” and “Down with the Sickness” and the long history of the song below.

1. It’s been 50 years since Simon & Garfunkel debuted the tune.
The duo originally recorded the song – written by Paul Simon – in 1964, but a remixed single was released in September 1965 and climbed the Billboard Hot 100 charts to the No. 1 spot.

“I think about songs that it’s not just what the words say but what the melody says and what the sound says,” Simon told NPR of the hit. “My thinking is that if you don’t have the right melody, it really doesn’t matter what you have to say – people don’t hear it. They only are available to hear when the sound entrances and makes people open to the thought. Really the key to ‘The Sound of Silence’ is the simplicity of the melody and the words, which are youthful alienation.”

Art Garfunkel and Paul Simon in 1967
Columbia Records/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty
2. Disturbed’s performance of the song on Conan went viral
Backed by a 15-piece string orchestra, the powerful performance from March 2016 has racked up over 10 million views, making it one of Conan O’Brien’s most successful videos ever. (The band’s video for the song has over 55 million views.)

3. Paul Simon himself reached out to the band to compliment their cover
Simon caught wind of the Conan performance and contacted lead singer David Draiman to tell him how much he loved it.

“Really powerful performance on Conan the other day. First time I’d seen you do it live. Nice,” he wrote in an email. “Thanks, Paul.”

Simon even talked about the appearance on social media and during his press tour in the United Kingdom.

4. Lead singer David Draiman says he teared up when he first listened to the completed cover.
“I listened to it three times before I even gave any response to [producer Kevin Churko],” Draiman told Blabbermouth. “And he got very nervous; he thought I didn’t like it. But what I was actually doing was tearing up listening to it, because it had been so long since I have allowed myself to go to that place vocally, and hearing it, and hearing it come out as well as I thought it did was not just gratifying, but like having a weight lifted off me.”

Disturbed
Travis Shinn

5. Disturbed’s past five albums have debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200
They join artists like The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews Band, Eminem, Madonna, U2 and Kanye West in that accomplishment. Their latest album, Immortalized, is available now.