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Seasons in the Sun

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"Le Moribond"
Song by Jacques Brel
from the album Marieke
RecordedFebruary 22, 1961
Songwriter(s)Jacques Brel

"Seasons in the Sun" is an English-language adaptation of the song "Le Moribond" by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel[1] with lyrics rewritten by American singer-poet Rod McKuen.[2] 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. Jacks's version is one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million copies worldwide.

Terry Jacks recording[edit]

"Seasons in the Sun"
Single by Terry Jacks
from the album Seasons in the Sun
B-side"Put the Bone In"
ReleasedDecember 1973
Format7-inch single
Songwriter(s)Jacques Brel, Rod McKuen
Producer(s)Terry Jacks
Terry Jacks singles chronology
"Concrete Sea"
"Seasons in the Sun"
"If You Go Away"
Music video
"Seasons in the Sun" on YouTube

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,[3] 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.[4] Billboard ranked it as the number two song for 1974.[5] 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.[6] 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 has tended to be more critical of Jacks's rewriting of the original song, considering it overly sentimentalized. Jacks's version is commonly held up[by whom?] as an example of bad music, having been called one of the worst pop songs ever recorded, and ranking number five in a CNN poll in 2006.[7]

Jacks also released a German language version in Germany with lyrics by Gerd Müller-Schwanke, "In den Gärten der Zeit".[8]

Chart performance[edit]

Other versions[edit]

The first recording of the English-language version (lyrics by McKuen) was released on 1963 album Time to Think by The Kingston Trio.[29]

The Fortunes recorded the song for a 1968 single.

A cover version by Bobby Wright reached the Top 40 of the Billboard magazine Hot Country Singles chart in 1974.[citation needed]

Hong Kong English pop and Cantopop band The Wynners cover version in 1974 album Listen to the Wynners and Alan Tam as the vocal.

Westlife made their cover version in 1999 and included it on their album Westlife .

Parodies and alternate lyrics[edit]

The 1993 song "Twice My Age" by Shabba Ranks uses the melody of "Seasons in the Sun" with a different set of lyrics. Sean Kingston covered "Twice My Age" on his 2011 mixtape King of Kingz.

In 2002 a satirical version of the song lambasting the Canadian government's ageing Sea King helicopters was leaked to Esprit de Corps magazine. The lyrics were published in the Ottawa Citizen on November 20, 2002.

Another spoof was recorded in 2006 by Dundee United fan under the alias 'Terry Jack'. This version mocks the possible demise of Dundee United's archrivals, Dundee FC who were suffering severe financial difficulties at the time.[30] This version contains swearing and adult themes.


  1. ^ "30 years since the death of Jacques Brel: his life, his art, his legacy - World Socialist Web Site". Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  2. ^ "My first experience with Brel ( 1964...) consisted of doing an unauthorized adaptation of 'Le Moribund'(...written by Brel for the singer Jean Sablon...), which I called 'Seasons in the Sun'...I subsequently learned that Brel had received my recording...," liner notes from Rod McKuen Sings Rod McKuen, Jacques Brel Songbook, April 2000, posted at Rod McKuen - Flight Plan. 'Rod's gift to his many fans', maintained by Stanyan Music Group, of Hollywood CA. Accessed: 12 September 2009.
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 299. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  4. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 123.
  5. ^ "Number One Song of the Year: 1946-2015". Retrieved August 22, 2016.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel, "Top Pop Hits: 1955-2006, 2007.
  7. ^ Todd Leopold. "The worst song of all time, part II - Apr 26, 2006". Retrieved 2014-02-01.
  8. ^ "In den Gärten der Zeit" at
  9. ^ "Australian Chart Book". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  10. ^ " – Terry Jacks – Seasons in the Sun" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  11. ^ " – Terry Jacks – Seasons in the Sun" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Song artist 781 - Terry Jacks". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  13. ^ " – Terry Jacks Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  14. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Seasons in the Sun". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved November 24, 2018.
  15. ^ " – Terry Jacks – Seasons in the Sun" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  16. ^ " – Terry Jacks – Seasons in the Sun". VG-lista.
  17. ^ " – Terry Jacks – Seasons in the Sun". Swiss Singles Chart.
  18. ^ "flavour of new zealand - search listener". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  19. ^ "Terry Jacks: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  20. ^ "Terry Jacks Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  21. ^ "Terry Jacks Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  22. ^ "Cash Box Top 100 3/09/74". 1974-03-09. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  23. ^ Steffen Hung. "Forum - Top 100 End of Year AMR Charts - 1980s (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  24. ^ "Image : RPM Weekly - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  25. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Swiss Year-End Charts 1974 -". Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  26. ^ "Top 100 1974 - UK Music Charts". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  27. ^ "Top 100 Hits of 1974/Top 100 Songs of 1974". Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  28. ^ "Cash Box YE Pop Singles - 1974". 1974-12-28. Retrieved 2016-10-08.
  29. ^ Eder, Bruce. "The Kingston Trio - Time to Think". AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved 21 November 2018.
  30. ^ [1] Archived 2012-12-01 at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]