The Poppy Family was the married couple Susan and Terry Jacks. Terry wrote and produced their songs, while Susan handled vocals, although they both sang lead on this one. In their native Canada, this made it to #6, and it also charted on the American Hot 100 at #45.
Terry started writing the song in the mid-'60s, but didn't finish it until he came up with the chorus, which was prompted by his environmental activism. The song is specifically about the pulp mills in Canada that Terry accused of pumping pollutants deep into the Pacific Ocean along the British Columbia coast.
When Terry scored a huge hit with "Seasons in the Sun
" a few years later, he eschewed protest songs in favor of direct action. "This destruction bothered me," Terry told us
. "Through songs, I didn't think I could do it as well, so I found the only way to get action is through the media, drawing embarrassment to the government, because the government needs the people to vote."