Past Time With Good Company

Album: Under a Violet Moon (1999)
Play Video


  • The words and music for this song were written by King Henry VIII of England, shortly after his coronation in 1509 and his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. The song was widely popular during the 16th century, performed in royal court and sung in taverns. It is thought to be a favorite of the King's youngest daughter, Elizabeth.
  • Originally "Pastyme wt good copanye" and also known as "The Kynges Balade," according to the historian David Starkey, this song is Henry's masterpiece. It is also a double entendre because it is not simply about wine, women and song. When Henry wrote this he had just been stopped by his Council from relaunching a war against France. Starkey says listen to it closely, and its meaning will become clear:

    "Company is good and ill
    But every man has his free will" - especially ME!
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England
  • The song is usually performed as a three-part harmony. The duo's arrangement features vocalist Candice Night harmonizing with herself and English Singer-Songwriter John Ford, though she sometimes sings solo.
  • Asked about the appeal of renaissance music, lead guitarist and songwriter Ritchie Blackmore said, "I had been listening to renaissance music since 1971 when I first saw the BBC's Wives of Henry VIII... It was the rock music of that day. Even while writing Deep Purple songs - for example, 'Smoke On The Water,' the riff is done in fourths and fifths — a medieval modal scale. It makes it appear more dark and foreboding. Not like today's pop music thirds. We were even doing some renaissance based ideas in Rainbow, like "Temple of the King," or "Sixteenth Century Greensleeves," so you could say that the renaissance music has been an influence in my music from early on. (Myspace Music, 2006).
  • The Blackmore's Night duo named their 2002 double disc live album after this song.
  • The song has also been covered by Jethro Tull, whose lead singer Ian Anderson plays flute on the duo's debut album Shadow of the Moon, released in 1997.


Be the first to comment...

Editor's Picks

Mark Arm of Mudhoney

Mark Arm of MudhoneySongwriter Interviews

When he was asked to write a song for the Singles soundtrack, Mark thought the Seattle grunge scene was already overblown, so that's what he wrote about.

Frankie Valli

Frankie ValliSong Writing

An interview with Frankie Valli, who talks about why his songs - both solo and with The Four Seasons - have endured, and reflects on his time as Rusty Millio on The Sopranos.

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")

Barry Dean ("Pontoon," "Diamond Rings And Old Barstools")Songwriter Interviews

A top country songwriter, Barry talks about writing hits for Little Big Town, Tim McGraw and Jason Aldean.

Trucking Songs That Were #1 Hits

Trucking Songs That Were #1 HitsSong Writing

The stories behind the biggest hit songs about trucking.

Penny Ford of Snap!

Penny Ford of Snap!Songwriter Interviews

The original voice of Snap! this story is filled with angry drag queens, video impersonators and Chaka Khan.

Oliver Leiber

Oliver LeiberSongwriter Interviews

Oliver Leiber talks about writing and producing hits for Paula Abdul, and explains his complicated relationship with his father, the songwriter Jerry Leiber.