Seasons in the Sun (Remastered) - song and lyrics by Terry Jacks | Spotify

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About The Song

Ah, Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun. A song that transcends generations, a poignant ballad that has tugged at heartstrings since its release in 1974. But its roots dig much deeper, embodying a fascinating journey across languages and cultures.

For the discerning listener, Seasons in the Sun isn’t just a pop tune. It’s a masterful reimagining of a French song titled Le Moribond (The Dying Man), originally penned by Belgian poet Jacques Brel in 1961. Brel, a giant of French chanson, poured his signature melancholic lyricism into the song, crafting a narrative from the perspective of a terminally ill man reflecting on his life.

The song struck a chord with American songwriter Rod McKuen, who recognized its raw emotional power. In 1964, McKuen translated the lyrics into English, retaining the essence of Brel’s bittersweet message. This English version, titled Seasons in the Sun, found its way to the Kingston Trio, a hugely popular American folk group in the early 1960s. Their rendition, released in 1964, introduced the song to a wider audience, particularly in North America.

However, it was Terry Jacks, a Canadian singer-songwriter, who would truly propel Seasons in the Sun into the international spotlight. Jacks, then a successful producer working with artists like The Beach Boys, stumbled upon the song in the mid-1960s. The melancholic beauty of the lyrics resonated with him, and he felt compelled to create his own version.

Jacks’ rendition differed significantly from the Kingston Trio’s folk-oriented approach. He adopted a more pop-infused style, with a gentle orchestral arrangement featuring piano, strings, and melancholic flute flourishes. His vocals, characterized by a warm baritone and a touch of vulnerability, perfectly captured the song’s emotional core.

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Released in 1974, Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun became a global phenomenon. The song topped charts worldwide, selling over millions of copies. While some critics found its sentimentality overly saccharine, there was no denying its undeniable emotional impact.

Seasons in the Sun resonated with listeners across generations. Its message of cherishing life’s fleeting moments, the bittersweet beauty of youth, and the acceptance of mortality spoke to a universal human experience. The song transcended cultural boundaries, becoming a staple at funerals and a poignant reflection on life’s impermanence.

However, the song’s immense popularity also brought with it a degree of controversy. Le Moribond, Brel’s original, was a stark and unflinching portrayal of death. Jacks’ version softened some of those edges, making it more palatable for mainstream audiences. This shift in tone alienated some listeners who felt the original’s raw power had been diminished.

Despite the controversy, Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun remains a significant entry in the pop music canon. It serves as a testament to the enduring power of songwriting, showcasing the ability of music to transcend language and cultural barriers. Whether you connect with the poignant lyricism or the hauntingly beautiful melody, Seasons in the Sun continues to evoke powerful emotions, reminding us to cherish the precious moments of life, even as the seasons inevitably change.

Video

Lyrics

“Seasons In The Sun”
(originally by Jacques Brel)

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

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

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

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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

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun