Terry Jacks - Seasons in the sun

Discussion in 'Music' started by jimnyc, Apr 5, 2004.

  1. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Anyone know the story behind this 'ol song? Sounds like a guy saying goodbye to his family and friends. Very sad. Or I'm misinterpreting it.
     
  2. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Here are the lyrics for those that have forgotten:

    Goodbye to you, my trusted friend
    We've known each other since we're nine or ten
    Together we climbed hills or trees
    Learned of love and ABC's
    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
    When you see them 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 get 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 joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun
    But the wine and the song
    Like the seasons, all have gone

    Goodbye, Michelle, my little one
    You gave me love and helped me find the sun
    And 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 bird are singing in the sky
    Now that the spring is in the air
    With the flowers ev'rywhere
    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.
     
  3. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    Jim-
    I have a book that's nothing but classic rock artists explaining the backstory to their most popular songs, I'll thumb through it later and see if I can find this one!

    Speaking of that book, I learned that "Walk This Way" was written after Joe Perry and Brad Hamilton got stoned and saw Young Frankenstein and thought the part where Igor says "walk this way" and they limp over like him was the funniest thing they'd ever seen. They went back to Steven Tyler and said "we have this song, but it's got to be called 'Walk This Way'".

    It's also funny to hear Jimmy Page talk about how he just improvised the solo to Stairway to Heaven, one of the greatest guitar songs ever.
     
  4. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Thank you, sir! Just wondering if this somehow had special meaning or not.
     
  5. Dan
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    Dan Senior Member

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    Jim, I checked my book and there's no mention of the song. I also searched the 'Net and found nothing on it, either, other than lyrics. I swear I read some backstory on it somewhere, but I can't remember for the life of me! Sorry.
     
  6. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    he said on one of those 'where are they now" shows on vh1 it was a song about a friends suicide. he also said the song was being recorded by the Beach Boys but they were having so many problems at the time he recorded and release it himself.
     
  7. Lefty Wilbury
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    Lefty Wilbury Active Member

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    http://www.superseventies.com/1974_3singles.html

    "Seasons In The Sun"
    Terry Jacks
    Bell 45432

    anadian-born Terry Jacks grew up admiring American rock'n'roll, especially the Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, and Buddy Holly. "Buddy was the greatest," Terry recalled. "I used to have a job delivering papers in the morning, and all the money I earned was spent buying Buddy Holly 45s."

    Terry began his own career as rhythm guitarist and lead singer for a Vancouver group, the Chessmen. They recorded extensively in Nashville and Los Angeles, but never managed to have a hit. "It was frustrating," said Terry, "and I had to find out why. So whenever I could, I'd hitchhike down to L.A. and study the record trade."


    One night, while playing with the Chessmen on Canadian TV's "Music Hop," Terry met a young singer named Susan Pesklevits, who was then making her national debut. The two decided to team up, personally and professionally, as a husband-and-wife duo: the Poppy Family. Susan was lead vocalist, while Terry composed, arranged, and produced all their material. One tune, written quickly to fill up a B side, became a huge Canadian hit early in 1970. American listeners whose radios picked up the song from over the Canadian border demanded its U.S. release. The London label obliged, and before long, "Which Way You Goin' Billy?" reached number two in the States. In Canada, the tune was voted "Song of the Year" by RPM, the Canadian music industry trade paper.

    The Poppy Family had one other Top 30 single, "That's Where I Went Wrong," issued later in 1970. After that, everything seemed to go wrong. "We stayed together as long as possible," Terry explained, "but it got to be too much for us. I liked making records, and sometimes singing live, but hated to go on the road. Susan enjoyed traveling." By mid-1973, both their marriage and their act had broken up.

    Terry continued to write and produce for Susan, but was then open to outside projects. The Beach Boys called and asked him to supervise one of their sessions. In the studio, he had them cut one of his favorite tunes, "Seasons in the Sun." When the group refused to released the finished track, Terry began to consider singing the song himself.

    "Seasons in the Sun" had been written in French in 1961 under the title of "Le Moribond" (The Dying Man), by Belgian poet-composer Jacques Brel. In 1964, it was translated into English by Rod McKuen and recorded by Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio. Although that version didn't sell well, Terry heard it, and the tune remained in the back of his mind. The Beach Boys' rejection -- coupled with the death of a close personal friend of Terry's, which made the song's theme more meaningful to him -- finally sent Terry back into the studio, accompanied by guitarist Link Wray.

    Terry received permission, but not credit, for changing part of "Seasons in the Sun." He rewrote the last verse and rearranged the words and chords in the chorus in order to "lighten up" the song. He released it on his own label, Goldfish Records, and was amazed when it became the largest-selling single in Canadian history -- more than 285,000 copies sold in a matter of weeks. Bell's A&R vice president, Dave Carrico, heard the record, flew to Vancouver, and snapped up American rights. On February 14, 1974, it earned its first RIAA Gold Award, for sales of over a million copies. Eventually, it sold more than three million copies in the United States alone. Worldwide, the figure is over six million.

    "Seasons in the Sun" is the story of a dying man, bidding farewell to loved ones who have shared his life. Shortly before Terry's recording came out, Jacques Brel retired, at the peak of his popularity. Fans around the world were stunned, but the composer would give no reason. Finally, the truth was revealed. After a quiet, six-year battle against cancer, Brel succumbed to the disease and died, on October 9, 1978.
     
  8. jimnyc
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    jimnyc ...

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    Excellent, thanks, Lefty. :)
     
  9. Dude111
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    Dude111 VIP Member

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    I love this song and would love to get the record of this!!! (I prefer analogue as the sound is the best)

    I found it on vinyl here: www.amazon.com/dp/B004ER09BA

    I dunno if thats been "remastered" however,I DO NOT WANT THAT!! -- I want the original ANALOGUE pressing :)
     
  10. Pop23
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    Pop23 Gold Member

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    Interesting. I always wondered what the song was about. I had assumed it was a guy on Death Row, but did not really give it a lot of thought.
     

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