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02 June 2009 @ 09:14 am
Seasons in the Sun  
In 1961, Jacques Brel recorded the song "Le Moribond" (roughly: "The Dying Man), the melancholoy lament of a man about to take his life (and possibly others), where he reminisces with an old friend, begs forgiveness from his father, and lovingly chastises his cheating wife. Paperback poet Rod McKuen, a great admirer of Brel, translated most of his songs, including "Le Moribond," which became "Seasons in the Sun." Unfortunately, the song flopped for the Kingston Trio who recorded it.

Canadian Terry Jacks had a hit with his version of it originally intended for, but rejected by the Beach Boys. But Jacks rewrote the lyrics to make the song more vague, less dark, removing the personal anger and changing the mood of it considerably.

The version I've always loved was by the quirky but very passionate alternative rock band Too Much Joy, from the re-release of their second album Son of Sam I Am. They pretty much do the straight McKuen version, but with the word 'adieu' replaced with 'goodbye.' You can listen to it here or here.

Goodbye, Emile, my trusted friend, we've known each other since we were nine or ten.
Together we climbed hills and trees, learned of love and A B Cs, skinned our hearts and skinned our knees.
Goodbye, Emile, it's hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky. Now that the Spring is in the air
Pretty girls are ev'rywhere. Think of me and I'll be there.

Chorus:
We had joy. We had fun.
We had seasons in the sun,
but the hills we would climb were just seasons out of time.

Goodbye, Papa, please pray for me.
I was the black sheep of the family.
You tried to teach me right from wrong.
Too much wine and too much song, wonder how we got along.
Goodbye, Papa, it's hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky.
Now that the Spring is in the air
Little children ev'rywhere.
When you see them, I'll be there.

(Chorus)

Goodbye, Francoise, my trusted wife, without you I'd have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then, I forgave you in the end though your lover was my friend.
Goodbye, Francoise, it's hard to die when all the birds are singing in the sky.
Now that spring is in the air
With your lovers ev'rywhere;
just be careful, I'll be there.

All our lives we had fun.
We had seasons in the sun,
but the hills we would climb
were just season out of time.

Goodbye, Emile. Goodbye, Papa. Goodbye, Francoise.

All our lives, we had fun.
We had seasons in the sun,
but the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time.
All our lives, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun,
but the stars we could reach were just starfish on the beach.


 
 
Listening to: Too Much Joy - "Seasons
 
 
 
lilyvalleylilyvalley on June 2nd, 2009 02:29 pm (UTC)
Wow, I had no idea the song was about suicide. I'd always assumed he was dying of...I dunno, cancer? A disease of some sort.
Diary of an Ass Monkey: amd: angel and the ape looking backassmonkeydiary on June 2nd, 2009 03:29 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm being a tad presumptuous there. A lot of people see the original song as clearly about suicide, but it's definitely open to interpretation, even more so with the Terry Jacks version.
lilyvalleylilyvalley on June 3rd, 2009 04:35 pm (UTC)
No, you're right. Suicide fits perfectly with the lyrics. I guess because I was a tender, innocent 10-year-old when I first heard it, suicide never crossed my mind. And, wow, it never crossed my mind later, as I got older, either.

(I have the Terry Jacks version of 45. 45!!)
Pallaspallasathene8 on June 2nd, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing it must be the Terry Jacks version I am familiar with.

Also, nice ass today!
(Anonymous) on July 9th, 2009 11:41 pm (UTC)
Given the time TMJ recorded it, It's entirely appropriate to think of this as a man dying of AIDS, "Just be careful, I'll be there."