Friday 19 July 2019

Seasons in the Sun

Terry Jacks’ 1974 hit “Seasons in the Sun” was a no.1 smash on both sides of the Atlantic and all around the world. 

Still heard on the radio on occasions, it was an English language adaptation of the song “Le Moribond” (The Dying Man) by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, with re-written English lyrics by American poet/singer Rod McKuen. It tells the story of an old man who is dying of a broken heart because of his unfaithful wife.

Originally released as far back as 1964 by the Kingston Trio, the song was latterly covered by Westlife in 1999, becoming a UK Christmas no.1.

Jacks’ version was originally meant to be released by the Beach Boys who had started to record the song with Jacks as producer. But when that version was abandoned, Terry Jacks decided to record the song himself in Vancouver, along with his then wife Susan in 1973. After an original release put out on his own Goldfish records label, Bell Records got hold of the track, promoting it to become a worldwide mega-hit.

“Seasons in the Sun” was followed up by another Brel/McKuen collaboration “If You Go Away” (previously “Ne Me Quitte Pas”) which was a minor hit in the UK. Subsequently, although he remained successful in his native Canada, his popularity waned elsewhere.

As the 1970s came to a close, Jacks withdrew from the music industry to become involved in environmental issues, focusing on pulp mill production in Canada earning him several awards. 

In the intervening years he has made the occasional foray back into the music world producing work for other artists and working with friend Alan Jardine and other members of the Beach Boys. In 2015 a double cd-set containing 40 of his favourite hits from the last 40 years was released.

Now 75 years old, Terry Jacks has not been in the best of health in recent years, suffering a stroke in 2016. Earlier this year there was a hoax report of his death, but as of writing he is alive and well.

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