When You Were Young

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"When You Were Young"
Single by The Killers
from the album Sam's Town
B-side "Where the White Boys Dance", "All the Pretty Faces"
Released September 18, 2006
Format Download, 12", 7", CD
Genre Alternative rock, post-punk revival
Length 3:40
Label Island (U.S.), Mercury (UK)
Writer(s) Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr.
Producer(s) Flood, Alan Moulder, The Killers
Certification Diamond - ABPD Brazil[1]
The Killers singles chronology
"Smile Like You Mean It"
"When You Were Young"
Sam's Town track listing
"When You Were Young"
"Bling (Confession of a King)"

"When You Were Young" is a song written and performed by The Killers, and is the third track on their second album Sam's Town, released in October 2006. The song was released as the lead single from that album in September 2006. It has proven to be one of their most successful singles, peaking at #14 on the U.S. Hot 100, as well as their only number 1 to date on the U.S. Modern Rock Tracks chart but "Mr. Brightside" and "Somebody Told Me" would stay longer on the chart and have more pop airplay still being more successful despite both songs only peaking at #3 on the same chart. It is also their highest charting single to date in the United Kingdom and Australia, peaking at numbers 2 and 10 respectively. "When You Were Young" is the band's most commercially successful post–Hot Fuss single.


The song, which is in the key of B major and written in common time, displays the band's move towards a more "heartland rock" style, as it is part of an album that was supposedly heavily influenced by the music of Bruce Springsteen. The song itself was reportedly influenced by Springsteen's "Born to Run" and "Thunder Road".[2] The song was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Rock Song, and the single's video, directed by Anthony Mandler, received a nomination in the category of Best Short Form Music Video.[3] The single was ranked #69 on iTunes Top 100 Best Sellers: Songs of 2006. The song also made #4 on the Triple J Hottest 100, 2006.

In popular culture[edit]

The song appears in the video games Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, SingStar Amped, and Rock Band. The single's B-Side "All the Pretty Faces" appears in Guitar Hero 5.

The song was featured in the third section of the 2006 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and is played regularly before Baltimore Orioles games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

In 2009 it was voted at Number 37 in UK radio station XFM's "100 Greatest Songs of All Time".  and number 3 in XFM's 1000 greatest songs ever behind "Mr. Brightside" and Muse's "Knights of Cydonia".

Music video[edit]

The music video for this song was filmed in Tlayacapan, Mexico.[4] The visual style was inspired by the films Japón and Batalla en el Cielo both directed by Mexican film director Carlos Reygadas.

In a frame story, it tells the story of a young woman around the age of 20. The video opens with her arriving at a large, white, wooden cross in a rocky hill. She mourns in front of it until a man, who had been desperately searching for her, shows up and comforts her. The following scenes are mostly flashbacks that would illustrate the story of how they came to be there.

The first of these flashbacks is one in which the same woman is praying at a church; after leaving, she encounters the man outside. They kiss and it is evident that there is a romantic relationship between them. One day she arrives home to their shared house to find the man in bed with another woman; seeing them together, she leaves the house, heavily distraught. As the woman runs through the town with tears in her eyes, the video flashes back to their joyous wedding, making it clear that they are husband and wife and that they were thoroughly happy together. The next scene is another flashback in which the man gazes on as she pours water on her legs, demonstrating the attraction he had for her.

Later, the video cuts to a very early scene in the story, set within a bar that the man appears to own. The woman enters and introduces herself for the first time to her future husband, who at the time was chatting to his future mistress. It appears as though she had applied for employment at the bar, because he promptly gives her an apron and leads her away into another room, much to the annoyance of the other woman. In this room the Killers are playing to a small crowd within the bar and in the drums says "Los Dientes Del Perro" as the band name, that in Spanish means "The Dog's Teeth". She shares a prolonged look with Brandon Flowers as he sings the last verse, before turning away to attend to the man's instructions. The final shot of the music video comes back to the first scene set next to wooden cross, with the woman still on the ground and her husband there with her.

The video stars Sonia Couoh and Gustavo Sanchez Parra.

There is also an alternate version of the video in which the woman jumps off a cliff instead of reconciling with the husband.

This video has currently 34 million views on YouTube.


Track listings[edit]

CD: Island / ISLR16591-2 United States[edit]

  1. "When You Were Young" (radio version) - 3:39
  • US Promo

CD: Vertigo / 170 765-8 United Kingdom[edit]

  1. "When You Were Young" - 3:39
  2. "All the Pretty Faces" - 4:44

CD: Island / 0 602517 07658 7 Germany & Germany[edit]

  1. "When You Were young" - 3:39
  2. "All The Pretty Faces" - 4:44
  3. "When You Were Young" (video)
  4. "All The Pretty Faces"

CD: Island / ISLR 16633-2 United States[edit]

  1. "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Radio Edit) - 3:58
  2. "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Radio Edit) - 4:31
  3. "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix) - 6:23
  4. "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Remix) - 6:59
  5. "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Dub) - 6:23
  6. "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Dub) - 6:50
  • US promo

2x12": Island / B0007884-11 United States[edit]

  1. "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix) - 6:23
  2. "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Remix) - 6:59
  1. "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Dub) - 6:23
  2. "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Dub) - 6:50

Official versions[edit]

  • "When You Were Young" (Radio Version) / (Album Version) - 3:40
  • "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Radio Edit) - 3:58
  • "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Mix) - 6:23
  • "When You Were Young" (Jacques Lu Cont's Thin White Duke Dub) - 6:23
  • "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Radio Edit) - 4:31
  • "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Remix) - 6:59
  • "When You Were Young" (The Lindbergh Palace Dub) - 6:50
  • "When You Were Young" (Calvin Harris Remix) - 6:12

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
Australia ARIA Singles Chart[14] 10
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[15] 43
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[16] 11
Dutch Charts[17] 71
German Singles Chart[18] 44
Italian Singles Chart 40
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[19] 10
Norwegian Singles Chart[20] 20
Switzerland Airplay (Schweizer Hitparade)[21] 56
Swedish Singles Chart[22] 45
UK Singles Chart 2
US Billboard Hot 100 14
US Billboard Pop 100 18
US Billboard Adult Pop Songs 15
US Billboard Mainstream Top 40 31
US Billboard Mainstream Rock Tracks 30
US Billboard Alternative Songs 1

Sales and certifications[edit]

Country Certification Sales
Brazil (ABPD) Diamond[23] 500,000+
Denmark (IFPI) Gold[24] 15,000+
United States (RIAA) Platinum 1,000,000+
United Kingdom Silver[25] 200,000+


Year Ceremony Award Result
2007 Grammy Awards Best Rock Song Nominated
Best Short Form Music Video Nominated
2007 MuchMusic Video Awards People's Choice: Favorite International Group Nominated
Best International Video - Group Nominated
2007 Shockwaves NME Awards Best Track Nominated
2007 Q Awards Best Video Won


  1. ^ "Associaчуo Brasileira de Produtores de Disco". ABPD. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  2. ^ Montgomery, James (2006). "MTV News - Killers' Next LP Will Show Strong Influence Of ... Bruce Springsteen!?". MTV.com.
  3. ^ Associated Press. "FOX Facts: Complete List of Grammy Award Nominations". Fox News. December 7, 2006. Retrieved December 9, 2006.
  4. ^ The Killers in Mexico for When You Were Young » The Inspiration Room
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ "amy macdonald - when you were young". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  7. ^ "Amy Macdonald - When You Were Young (The Killers cover)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  8. ^ "Biffy Clyro - When You Were Young (The Killers Cover)". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  9. ^ "When You Were Young - Simon Webbe Live @ The ICA". YouTube. 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  10. ^ "When You Were Young (TBS cover)". YouTube. 2006-11-18. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  11. ^ machincoin (2007-06-25). "MP3 of the Day: Astrid Swan, 'When You Were Young' (Killers Cover)". Spinner. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  12. ^ [2][dead link]
  13. ^ James McManus (Feb 1, 2012). "Garrison Starr Softens The Killers' "When You Were Young"". Cover Me. Retrieved Feb 1, 2012. 
  14. ^ http://www.australian-charts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Killers&titel=When+You+Were+Young&cat=s
  15. ^ http://www.ultratop.be/nl/song/36ec2/The-Killers-When-You-Were-Young
  16. ^ http://www.ultratop.be/fr/song/36ec2/The-Killers-When-You-Were-Young
  17. ^ http://www.dutchcharts.nl/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Killers&titel=When+You+Were+Young&cat=s
  18. ^ http://www.officialcharts.de/suche.asp?search=when+you+were+young&x=4&y=13&country=de
  19. ^ http://charts.org.nz/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Killers&titel=When+You+Were+Young&cat=s
  20. ^ http://norwegiancharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Killers&titel=When+You+Were+Young&cat=s
  21. ^ http://hitparade.ch/song/The-Killers/When-You-Were-Young-224962
  22. ^ http://swedishcharts.com/showitem.asp?interpret=The+Killers&titel=When+You+Were+Young&cat=s
  23. ^ "Associaчуo Brasileira de Produtores de Disco". ABPD. Retrieved 2012-03-14. 
  24. ^ "Forårets guld- og platincertificeringer". ifpi.dk. Retrieved 2013-08-10. 
  25. ^ [3]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Tell Me Baby" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
Billboard Modern Rock Tracks number-one single
October 21, 2006
Succeeded by
"Welcome to the Black Parade" by My Chemical Romance