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Originally "Le Moribond" ("The Dying Man"), this was written and performed in French by Belgian poet-composer Jacques Brel in 1961.
Canadian singer Terry Jacks was in the duo The Poppy Family with his wife, Susan. After their divorce,Terry worked on a session with the Beach Boys, where he suggested this song. The Beach Boys recorded it but decided not to release it. (thanks, Madeline - Yakima, WA)
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. Terry received permission, but not composer credit, for changing part of the song. He rewrote the last verse and rearranged the words and chords in the chorus in order to "lighten up" the song.
The tape with Jacks' version of the song sat on a shelf in his home for a year, until a delivery boy heard it and asked Jacks if he could play it for a few friends. Their enthusiastic reaction convinced Jacks to release it as his first solo single. His family and group, the Poppy Family (#2 "Which Way You Goin' Billy?") had broken up a few months earlier.
Link Wray ("Rumble") provided the guitar riff in the introduction. (thanks, Brad Wind - Miami, FL, for above 3)
Terry released this 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 Records vice president Dave Carrico heard the record, flew to Vancouver, and snapped up the American rights. Bell released the song in the US, and 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. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, WA, for above 2)
After gaining massive royalties from this, Terry named his power boat "Seasons In The Sun."
Terry knew the song from an English version by Rod McKeuen, who translated the lyrics from the original French. That version of the song was recorded by The Kingston Trio in 1964.
Jacks also recorded another Jacques Brel song, "If You Go Away." The French title, "Ne me quite pas," literally translates as "Don't Leave Me." (thanks, Leo - Hilversum, Netherlands, for 3 above)
Jack's previous group, The Poppy Family, had a #2 hit with "Which Way You Goin' Billy?"
David Lanz played the piano on this song. Lanz went on to become a successful New Age artist, with his album Cristofori's Dream going gold. (thanks, Elizabeth - Seattle, WA)
Nirvana did a version of this song, but it didn't appear until 2004 on the With The Lights Out out boxed set. (thanks, chris - dracut, MA)
In the UK, Westlife had the 1999 Christmas #1 with their Double-A-side of "I Have A Dream" and their cover of this song. "I Have A Dream" was originally a #2 hit for Abba in 1979. When this topped the UK chart, Westlife became the first act since Elvis Presley in 1962 to have 4 #1s in the same year. (thanks, Edward Pearce - Ashford, Kent, England)
The B-side of the single was a song titled "Put the Bone In," which described a woman in a butcher shop, apparently begging the butcher to "put the bone in" for her because "her doggy had been hit by a car." Near the end, the lyrics say: "Put the bone in, she yelled out once more." (thanks, Rick - Cottonwood, AZ)
Dean wrote the screenplay and lyrics to all the songs in Footloose
. His other hits include "Fame" and "All The Man That I Need."
Jules Shear - "All Through The Night"
Shears does very little promotion, which has kept him secluded from the spotlight. What changed when Cyndi Lauper had a hit with his song? Not much, really.
Divided Souls: Musical Alter Egos
Long before Eminem, Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj created alternate personas, David Bowie, Bono, Joni Mitchell and even Hank Williams took on characters.
Marc Campbell - "88 Lines About 44 Women"
The Nails lead singer Marc Campbell talks about those 44 women he sings about over a stock Casio keyboard track. He's married to one of them now - you might be surprised which.