Song Lyric Sunday – “Seasons In The Sun”

Happy Easter!

It’s SLS time again and Jim Adams picked a great range of topics this week – Seasons/Winter/Spring/Summer/Fall. If you want to read the rules of the challenge, join in, or check out all the other great song picks, head to Jim’s blog “A Unique Title For Me“.

I picked a song by a fellow Canadian, Terry Jacks, called “Seasons In The Sun”. There is a great history to this song. It was originally a French song, written by Belgian singer/poet Jacques Brel. American singer/songwriter, Rod McKuen, brought the song to North America and translated it. The original song was called “Le Moribond” (The Dying Man) and recorded by Brel in 1961. It was about a man who died of a broken heart because his wife cheated on him with his best friend. The Kingston Trio recorded McKuen’s English version.

In 1974, Terry Jacks took the song and made it his own with different lyrics and a different meaning. His song was dedicated to a friend who passed away 3 months after being diagnosed with cancer. He kept the style and some of the melody of the original song. There is a lot of speculation that Jack’s version is also about a cheating wife; however, having been to a few Poppy Family or Terry Jacks concerts and hearing him explain, I think I will take his word for it.

There is another interesting twist to Jack’s version. He recorded it with his then wife and partner in “The Poppy Family”; however, he had originally recorded it with the Beach Boys, believing their harmonies were perfect for the song. Terry was producing the song but Brian Wilson would grab the tape and change things to his sound to the point where the engineer would have to take it home every night. Jacks finally got frustrated and left the project.

I am including some of the English translation by McKuen from Brel’s original as the lyrics are very different from the Jacks’ version. You can sing along to the melody of the verse and they fit perfectly!

“Adieu, Francoise, my trusted wife,
without you, I’d have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then
I forgave you in the end,
though your lover was my friend.”

“Seasons In The Sun” went to number one on the Billboard top 100, Canadian RPM Top singles, and the UK top singles. It also made it to number one (Canada) and number two (US) on the year-end charts. Not bad for a song about dying.

Oh, another interesting fact. The video is of Jacks performing the song on a French TV show!

Lydia

Goodbye to you, my trusted friend
We’ve known each other since we’re nine or ten
Together we’ve climbed hills or trees
Learned of love and ABCs
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees

Goodbye my friend, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the Spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
Think of me and I’ll be there

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time

Goodbye Papa, please pray for me
I was the black sheep of the family
You tried to teach me right from wrong
Too much wine and too much song
Wonder how I got along

Goodbye Papa, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the Spring is in the air
Little children everywhere
When you see them I’ll be there

We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons, have all gone. x 2

Goodbye Michelle, my little one
You gave me love and helped me find the sun
Every time that I was down
You would always come around
And get my feet back on the ground

Goodbye Michelle, it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that the Spring is in the air
With the flowers everywhere
I wish that we could both be there

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the stars we could reach
Were just starfish on the beach.

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons, have all gone

All our lives, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time

Lyrics by: Genius Lyrics
Facts by: Song Facts, Wikipedia, and Terry Jacks
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15 Replies to “Song Lyric Sunday – “Seasons In The Sun””

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