Seasons in the Sun
|Song by Jacques Brel|
|from the album Marieke|
|Recorded||February 22, 1961|
"Seasons in the Sun" is an English-language adaptation of the 1961 song "Le Moribond" by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel with lyrics rewritten in 1963 by American singer-poet Rod McKuen, portraying a dying man's farewell to his loved ones. It became a worldwide hit in 1974 for Canadian singer Terry Jacks and became a Christmas number one in the UK in 1999 for Westlife.
Terry Jacks recording
|"Seasons in the Sun"|
Image of Germany 7" vinyl cover
|Single by Terry Jacks|
|from the album Seasons in the Sun|
|B-side||"Put the Bone In"|
|Songwriter(s)||Jacques Brel, Rod McKuen|
|Terry Jacks singles chronology|
Terry Jacks recorded "Seasons in the Sun" in Vancouver in 1973 with his then-wife Susan Jacks. They made the decision to record the song when The Beach Boys, who had recorded a version with Terry Jacks producing, decided to abandon their recording.
Jacks released his version as a single in 1973 on his own label, Goldfish Records. "Put the Bone In", an original composition about burying a deceased pet dog, was included as the B-side. The single soon topped the record charts in the U.S. (where it was released on Bell Records), in Canada, and the UK, selling over 14 million copies worldwide.
Jacks's version was released in the United States in December 1973, and made the Billboard Hot 100 a month later. On March 2, 1974, the song began a three-week run at number one atop the Hot 100, and remained in the top 40 until almost Memorial Day weekend. Jacks's version also spent one week on the Easy Listening charts. Billboard ranked it as the number two song for 1974. Although he released several other singles that were moderately successful in Canada, "Seasons in the Sun" would become Jacks's only major solo hit in the United States. In Canada, the single (Gold Fish GF 100) reached number one on the RPM Magazine charts January 26, 1974, and remained there four weeks.
Though the song enjoyed contemporary success, modern criticism takes a dimmer view, considering it overly sentimentalized. Jacks's version has been held up as an example of bad music, such as having been listed as one of the worst pop songs ever recorded and ranking number five in a similar CNN poll in 2006.
Jacks also released a German-language version in Germany with lyrics by Gerd Müller-Schwanke, "In den Gärten der Zeit".
- The first recording of the English-language version (lyrics by McKuen) was released on 1963 album Time to Think by The Kingston Trio.
- The Fortunes recorded the song for a 1968 single.
- The Newmen, an Irish vocal group, released a version in 1969 on Dolphin Records (DOS37) with 'Bonnie Bonnie' on the B side.
- Colombian duet Ana y Jaime released a Spanish version called Estaciones en el Sol.
- Pearls Before Swine included a version of the song on their album City of Gold in 1971, with lyrics reflecting the darkness of Brel's original version.
- A cover version by Bobby Wright reached the Top 40 of the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in 1974.
- Hong Kong English pop and Cantopop band The Wynners cover version in 1974 album Listen to the Wynners and Alan Tam as the vocal.
- Too Much Joy recorded the song for their 1988 album Son Of Sam I Am, and it became a regular part of their live shows.
- Westlife made their cover version in 1999 and included it on their album Westlife.
- Nirvana also recorded the song, which was released in the box set With the Lights Out.
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My first experience with Brel consisted of doing an unauthorized adaptation of 'Le Moribund', which I called 'Seasons in the Sun'... I subsequently learned that Brel had received my recording...
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