The Last Farewell

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"The Last Farewell"
Single by Roger Whittaker
from the album New World in the Morning
Released 1971 (reissued 1975)
Format 7" (45 rpm)
Recorded 1971
Genre Adult contemporary, Pop
Length 3:38
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Roger Whittaker
Ron A. Webster
Producer(s) Denis Preston
Roger Whittaker singles chronology
"Mamy Blue"
(1971)
"The Last Farewell"
(1971)

"The Last Farewell" is a song from 1971 by the British-Kenyan folk singer Roger Whittaker. Whittaker hosted a radio programme in Great Britain in 1971, backed by a full orchestra with arrangements by Zack Lawrence. Whittaker is quoted as saying that "one of the ideas I had was to invite listeners to send their poems or lyrics to me and I would make songs out of them. We got a million replies, and I did one each week for 26 weeks."[1] Ron A. Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham, England, sent Whittaker his poem titled "The Last Farewell", and this became one of the selections to appear on the radio programme. It was subsequently recorded and featured on Whittaker's 1971 album New World in the Morning (A Special Kind of Man in the US and Canada). Although the song failed to reach the music charts then, it's one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.

Popularity[edit]

According to Whittaker, the wife of a program director for a radio station in Atlanta, Georgia was traveling in Canada and heard Whittaker's four-year-old recording on the radio in 1975. When she returned to the United States, she asked her husband to play it on the station. After he played the song a few times, listeners began calling the station to find out more about the song and singer, and soon thereafter "The Last Farewell" was on its way onto the charts. The single reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 19 in June 1975. It also went to number 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.[2] The response in America led the single to achieve success in other parts of the world, including in Great Britain, where it reached number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[3] It was kept from number 1 in the UK by Rod Stewart's "Sailing" - to date, this is the only occasion on which the top 2 songs in the British singles chart have both had a nautical theme. "The Last Farewell" also went to number 1 in 11 other countries and sold an estimated 11 million copies worldwide,[4] making it by far Whittaker's best-known song around the world.

The opening of "The Last Farewell" features a French horn solo that was arranged by Lawrence on the initial airing of the radio programme. Whittaker has stated that he feels much of the song's appeal comes from the classical-sounding nature of this instrumental arrangement at the beginning of the song.

For a time in the late 1970s up until about 1981, WGN-TV used that introductory fanfare as the music over its broadcast logo at each half-hour.

Cover versions[edit]

The song has since been covered by many artists. In 1976, Elvis Presley included "The Last Farewell" on his album, From Elvis Presley Boulevard, Memphis, Tennessee. This version was released as a posthumous single in the UK in 1984, where it reached number 48 in December.[5]

Also reaching the UK pop charts with a version of "The Last Farewell" was the Marine Band of HMS Ark Royal, just before the aircraft carrier was decommissioned by the Royal Navy in December 1978. It topped out at number 41 in January 1979.[6]

Guitar legend Chet Atkins recorded an instrumental version on his 1986 album, Street Dreams.

Swedish sports club AIK have adopted the music of "The Last Farewell" together with alternate lyrics as their official anthem.

Poem[edit]

Spanish
Gat José Rizal
Filipino
José Gatmaitan
English

« Mi Último Adiós »

¡Adiós, Patria adorada, región del sol querida,
Perla del mar de oriente, nuestro perdido Edén!
A darte voy alegre la triste mustia vida,
Y fuera más brillante, más fresca, más florida,
También por ti la diera, la diera por tu bien.

En campos de batalla, luchando con delirio,
Otros te dan sus vidas sin dudas, sin pesar;
El sitio nada importa, ciprés, laurel o lirio,
Cadalso o campo abierto, combate o cruel martirio,
Lo mismo es si lo piden la patria y el hogar.

Yo muero cuando veo que el cielo se colora
Y al fin anuncia el día tras lóbrego capuz;
si grana necesitas para teñir tu aurora,
Vierte la sangre mía, derrámala en buen hora
Y dórela un reflejo de su naciente luz.

Mis sueños cuando apenas muchacho adolescente,
Mis sueños cuando joven ya lleno de vigor,
Fueron el verte un día, joya del mar de oriente,
Secos los negros ojos, alta la tersa frente,
Sin ceño, sin arrugas, sin manchas de rubor

Ensueño de mi vida, mi ardiente vivo anhelo,
¡Salud te grita el alma que pronto va a partir!
¡Salud! Ah, que es hermoso caer por darte vuelo,
Morir por darte vida, morir bajo tu cielo,
Y en tu encantada tierra la eternidad dormir.

Si sobre mi sepulcro vieres brotar un día
Entre la espesa yerba sencilla, humilde flor,
Acércala a tus labios y besa al alma mía,
Y sienta yo en mi frente bajo la tumba fría,
De tu ternura el soplo, de tu hálito el calor.

Deja a la luna verme con luz tranquila y suave,
Deja que el alba envíe su resplandor fugaz,
Deja gemir al viento con su murmullo grave,
Y si desciende y posa sobre mi cruz un ave,
Deja que el ave entone su cántico de paz.

Deja que el sol, ardiendo, las lluvias evapore
Y al cielo tornen puras, con mi clamor en pos;
Deja que un ser amigo mi fin temprano llore
Y en las serenas tardes cuando por mí alguien ore,
¡Ora también, oh Patria, por mi descanso a Dios!

Ora por todos cuantos murieron sin ventura,
Por cuantos padecieron tormentos sin igual,
Por nuestras pobres madres que gimen su amargura;
Por huérfanos y viudas, por presos en tortura
Y ora por ti que veas tu redención final.

Y cuando en noche oscura se envuelva el cementerio
Y solos sólo muertos queden velando allí,
No turbes su reposo, no turbes el misterio,
Tal vez acordes oigas de cítara o salterio,
Soy yo, querida Patria, yo que te canto a ti.

Y cuando ya mi tumba de todos olvidada
No tenga cruz ni piedra que marquen su lugar,
Deja que la are el hombre, la esparza con la azada,
Y mis cenizas, antes que vuelvan a la nada,
El polvo de tu alfombra que vayan a formar.

Entonces nada importa me pongas en olvido.
Tu atmósfera, tu espacio, tus valles cruzaré.
Vibrante y limpia nota seré para tu oído,
Aroma, luz, colores, rumor, canto, gemido,
Constante repitiendo la esencia de mi fe.

Mi patria idolatrada, dolor de mis dolores,
Querida Filipinas, oye el postrer adiós.
Ahí te dejo todo, mis padres, mis amores.
Voy donde no hay esclavos, verdugos ni opresores,
Donde la fe no mata, donde el que reina es Dios.

Adiós, padres y hermanos, trozos del alma mía,
Amigos de la infancia en el perdido hogar,
Dad gracias que descanso del fatigoso día;
Adiós, dulce extranjera, mi amiga, mi alegría,
Adiós, queridos seres, morir es descansar.

"Hulíng Paalam"

Paalam, sintang lupang tinubuan,
bayang masagana sa init ng araw,
Edeng maligaya sa ami’y pumanaw,
at perlas ng dagat sa dakong Silangan.

Inihahandog ko nang ganap na tuwa
sa iyo yaring buhay na lanta na’t aba;
naging dakila ma’y iaalay rin nga
kung dahil sa iyong ikatitinawa.

Ang nanga sa digmaan dumog sa paglaban
handog din sa iyo ang kanilang buhay,
hirap ay di pansin at di gunamgunam
ang pagkaparool o pagtagumpay.

Bibitaya’t madlang mabangis na sakit
o pakikibakang lubhang mapanganib,
pawang titiisin kung ito ang nais
ng baya’t tahanang pinakaiibig.

Ako’y mamamatay ngayong minamalas
ang kulay ng langit na nanganganinag
ibinababalang araw ay sisikat,
sa kabila niyang mapanglaw na ulap.

Kung dugo ang iyong kinakailangan
sa ikadidilag ng iyong pagsilang,
dugo ko’y ibubo’t sa isa man lamang
nang gumigiti mong sinag ay kuminang.

Ang mga nasa ko, mulang magkaisip,
magpahanggang ngayong maganap ang bait,
ang ikaw’y makitang hiyas na marikit
ng dagat Silangan na nakaliligid.

Noo mo’y maningning at sa mga mata
mapait na luha bakas ma’y wala na,
wala ka ng poot, wala ng balisa,
walang kadungua’t munti mang pangamba.

Sa sandaling buhay maalab kong nais
ang kagalingan mo’t ang paiwang sulit
ng kaluluwa kong gayak ng aalis,
ginhawa’y kamtan mo. Anong pagkarikit!

Nang maaba’t ikaw’y mapataas lamang,
mamatay at upang mabigyan kang buhay,
malibing sa lupang puspos ng karikta’t
sa silong ng iyong langit ay mahimlay.

Kung sa ibang araw ikaw’y may mapansin
nipot na bulaklak sa aba kong libing,
sa gitna ng mga damong masisinsin,
hagka’t ang halik mo’y itaos sa akin.

Sa samyo ng iyong pagsuyong matamis,
mataos na taghoy ng may sintang dibdib,
bayang tumaggap noo ko ng init,
na natatabunan ng lupang malamig.

Bayaan mong ako’y malasin ng buwan
sa liwanag niyang hilaw at malamlam;
bayaang ihatid sa aking liwayway
ang banaag niyang dagling napaparam.

Bayaang humalik ang simoy ng hangin;
bayaang sa huning masaya’y awitin;
ng darapong ibon sa kurus ng libing
ang buhay payapang ikinaaaliw.

Bayaang ang araw na lubhang maningas
pawiin ang ulan, gawing pawang ulap,
maging panginuring sa langit umakyat,
at ang aking daing ay mapakilangkap.

Bayaang ang aking maagang pagpanaw,
itangis ng isang lubos na nagmamahal;
kung may umalala sa akin ng dasal,
ako’y iyo sanang idalangin naman.

Idalangin mo rin ang di nagkapalad,
na nangamatay na’t yaong nangaghirap
sa daming pasakit, at ang lumalanghap
naming mga ina ng luhang masaklap.

Idalangin sampo ng bawa’t ulila
at nangapipiit na tigib ng dusa;
idalangin mo ring ikaw’y matubos na
sa pagkaaping laong binabata.

Kung nababalot na ang mga libingan
ng sapot na itim ng gabing mapanglaw,
at wala ng tanod kundi pawang patay,
huwang gambalain ang katahimikan.

Pagpitaganan mo ang hiwagang lihim,
at mapapakinggan ang tinig marahil,
ng isang salteryo: Ito nga’y ako ring
inaawitan ka ng aking paggiliw.

Kung ang libingan ko'y limot na ng madla
ay wala nang kurus at bato mang tanda
sa nangagbubukid ay ipaubayang
bungkali’t isabog ang natipong lupa.

Ang mga abo ko’y bago pailanlang
mauwi sa wala na pinanggalingan,
ay makaulit munang parang kapupunan
ng iyong alabok sa lupang tuntungan.

Sa gayo’y wala ng anoman sa akin,
na limutin mo na’t aking lilibutin
ang himpapawid mo kaparanga’t hangin
at ako sa iyo’y magiging taginting.

Bango, tinig, higing, awit na masaya
liwanag at kulay na lugod ng mata’t
uulit-ulitin sa tuwi-tuwina
ang kataimtiman ng aking pag-asa.

Sintang Pilipinas, lupa kong hinirang,
sakit ng sakit ko, ngayon ay pakinggan
huling paalam ko't sa iyo'y iiwan
ang lahat at madlang inirog sa buhay.

Ako’y yayao na sa bayang payapa,
na walang alipi’t punong mapang-aba,
doo’y di nanatay ang paniniwala
at ang naghahari'y Diyos na dakila.

Paalam anak, magulang, kapatid,
bahagi ng puso’t unang nakaniig,
ipagpasalamat ang aking pag-alis
sa buhay na itong lagi ng ligalig.

Paalam na liyag, tanging kaulayaw,
taga ibang lupang aking katuwaan;
paaalam sa inyo, mga minamahal;
mamatay ay ganap na katahimikan.

"My Last Farewell"

Farewell, my adored Land, region of the sun caress'd,
Pearl of the Orient Sea, our Eden lost,
With gladness I give thee my Life, sad and repress'd;
And were it more brilliant, more fresh and at its best,
I would still give it to thee for thine welfare at most.

On the fields of battle, in the fury of fight,
Others give thee their lives without pain or hesitancy,
The place matters not: cypress, laurel, or lily;
Scaffold, open field, conflict or martyrdom's site,
It is the same if asked by home and Country.

I die as I see tints on the sky b'gin to show
And at last announce the day, after a gloomy night;
If you need a hue to dye your matutinal glow,
Pour my blood and at the right moment spread it so,
And gild it with a reflection of your nascent light!

My dreams, when scarcely a lad adolescent,
My dreams when already a youth, full of vigour to attain,
Were to see thee, Gem of the sea of the Orient,
Thy dark eyes dry, smooth brow held to a high plane
Without frown, without wrinkles and of shame without stain.

My life's fancy, my ardent, passionate desire,
Hail! Cries out the soul to thee, that will soon part from thee;
Hail! How sweet 'tis to fall that fullness thou may acquire;
To die to give thee life, 'neath thy skies to expire,
And in thy mystic land to sleep through eternity!

If over my tomb some day, thou wouldst see blow,
A simple humble flow'r amidst thick grasses,
Bring it up to thy lips and kiss my soul so,
And under the cold tomb, I may feel on my brow,
Warmth of thy breath, a whiff of thy tenderness.

Let the moon with soft, gentle light me descry,
Let the dawn send forth its fleeting, brilliant light,
In murmurs grave allow the wind to sigh,
And should a bird descend on my cross and alight,
Let the bird intone a song of peace o'er my site.

Let the burning sun the raindrops vaporise
And with my clamour behind return pure to the sky;
Let a friend shed tears over my early demise;
And on quiet afternoons when one prays for me on high,
Pray too, oh, my Motherland, that in God may rest I.

Pray, thee, for all the hapless who have died,
For all those who unequalled torments have undergone;
For our poor mothers who in bitterness have cried;
For orphans, widows and captives to tortures were shied,
And pray too that thou may seest thine own redemption.

And when the dark night wraps the cemet'ry
And only the dead to vigil there are left alone,
Disturb not their repose, disturb not the mystery:
If thou hear the sounds of cithern or psaltery,
It is I, dear Country, who, a song t'thee intone.

And when my grave by all is no more remembered,
With neither cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let it be ploughed by man, with spade let it be scattered
And my ashes ere to nothingness are restored,
Let them turn to dust to cover thy earthly space.

Then it matters not that thou should forget me:
Thy atmosphere, thy skies, thy vales I'll sweep;
Vibrant and clear note to thy ears I shall be:
Aroma, light, hues, murmur, song, moanings deep,
Constantly repeating the essence of the faith I keep.

My idolised Country, for whom I most gravely pine,
Dear Philippines, to my last goodbye; oh, harken
There I leave all: my parents, loves of mine,
I'll go where there are no slaves, tyrants or hangmen
Where faith does not kill and where God alone doth reign.

Farewell, parents, brothers, beloved by me,
Friends of my childhood, in the home distressed;
Give thanks that now I rest from the wearisome day;
Farewell, sweet stranger, my friend, who brightened my way;
Farewell to all I love; to die is to rest.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1999). The Billboard Book of #1 Adult Contemporary Hits (Billboard Publications)
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition (Billboard Publications)
  3. ^ UK chart info (Whittaker) Chartstats.com. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  4. ^ Biography at Whittaker's website
  5. ^ UK chart info (Presley) Chartstats.com. Retrieved 6 April 2009.
  6. ^ Album Cover of "The Last Farewell", BBC Records and Tapes, 1979

External links[edit]