The Best Years of Our Lives (album)

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For other uses see The Best Years of Our Lives (disambiguation)

The Best Years of Our Lives
Studio album by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
Released March 1975
Recorded November 1974 – December 1974
Genre Glam rock[1]
Label EMI
Producer Steve Harley, Alan Parsons
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel chronology
The Psychomodo
The Best Years of Our Lives
Timeless Flight

The Best Years of Our Lives is an album by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel released in March 1975.[2] It was their first album that used Harley's name ahead of the band (the band was previously known simply as Cockney Rebel).[2] The album contains the band's biggest hit, the million selling "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)".[3]

The album was recorded and mixed at the EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London and Air Studios, London during November and December 1974.[4]

In 2014, a definitive edition of the album was released by EMI, as a four CD+DVD box-set. On disc one, aside from the original album, the B-Side "Another Journey" is included, as well as early demo version of "Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)" and "The Best Years Of Our Lives" - both previously unreleased. The second and third discs consist of tracks performed live at the Hammersmith Odeon in London, on 14 April 1975. The fourth is a DVD, with footage of the same concert.[5]

The song "It Wasn't Me" lyrically details mankind's tendency to blame their misdemeanors on their chosen god.[6]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and composed by Steve Harley.

No. Title Length
1. "Introducing The Best Years"   1:07
2. "The Mad, Mad Moonlight"   4:30
3. "Mr. Raffles (Man, It Was Mean)"   4:33
4. "It Wasn't Me"   6:02
5. "Panorama"   5:38
6. "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)"   4:00
7. "Back to the Farm"   5:53
8. "49th Parallel"   3:13
9. "The Best Years of Our Lives"   5:45

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[7]
Record & Popswap Mirror (magazine) favourable[8]
Classic Rock (magazine) 8/10 stars[9]

Allmusic journalist, Donald A. Guarisco wrote "By his third album, Steve Harley had developed a strong grasp of how to combine his artistic ambitions with strongly crafted pop tunes that win the casual listener over to his artsy cause. The result was The Best Years of Our Lives, the most successful album of his mid-'70s heyday. All in all, it is a fine, slickly crafted album that will delight Steve Harley enthusiasts and will also appeal to fans of glam-oriented 1970s English rock."[10]

In the Record & Popswap Mirror magazine of 8 April 1975, a review of the album noted "Forget No 1 singles; this will change everything. In nine songs, Harley wipes out his two-album apprenticeship with a stunning change of direction and commitment. Using the license of someone who knows he's on top, Harley continually swops style and musical approach to present a progressive collage of youth. It is a coming of age, a political and religious protest, a brilliant snap-book for a generation, a puzzle. In short, this third album demands attention. It is completely fulfilling, a monster unleashed."[11]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
Dutch Albums Chart[12] 11
UK Albums Chart[13] 4


Additional musicians


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. pp. 424–425. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  3. ^ Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 358–359. ISBN 0-214-20512-6. 
  4. ^ a b The Best Years of Our Lives – sleeve notes – original vinyl album – EMI Records – EMC 3068
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Classic Rock magazine - September 2014 edition - review by Paul Lester
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ Steffen Hung. "Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel – The Best Years Of Our Lives". Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  13. ^ "The Official Charts Company – The Best Years Of Our Lives by Steve Harley And Cockney Rebel Search". The Official Charts Company. 6 May 2013.