Tuesday, March 2, 2010

1974: Terry Jacks hits US #1 with "Seasons In The Sun"

It’s one of those songs that keeps going and going….

On this day in 1974, Terry Jacks hit the top of the Billboard charts with “Seasons In The Sun,” staying there for 3 weeks.

Jacks’ version of “Seasons” is not the first time the song became a smash: the original, “Le Moribond,” written and released by Belgian singer Jacques Brel in 1961, was a hit in France.

Jacques Brel - Jacques Brel, vol. 5 : Marieke - Le moribondBrel - Jacques Brel, vol. 5 : Marieke - Le moribond

Jacques Brel – Le Moribond (1961)
(includes English subtitles)

American poet Rod McKuen translated Brel’s song into english, and a folk version was recorded by The Kingston Trio in ’63: it was this that Jacks discovered and brought to The Beach Boys to record in 1973 - the band passed and refused to release it, and you can probably hear why if you browse the ‘net (ooooh, youtube, maybe?).

By ’73, Terry had already achieved success as a member of The Poppy Family, with wife Susan, scoring a huge hit with the title track from their album, “Which Way You Goin’ Billy?” In 1970; “Billy” reached #1 in Canada and #2 in the States – an early example of Canadian chart success south of the border.

After shutting things down with The Poppy Family, and, with The Beach Boys passing on “Seasons,” Terry then rewrote parts of the song, removing the original third and fourth verses, replacing them with one of his own.

At home, “Seasons” earned Terry Jacks Juno Awards for Best Pop Single and Best Male Vocalist in ’74, as well as Best Selling Single in ‘75; legend has it the song was the biggest-selling single in the world in 1974, and remains the biggest-selling ever by a Canadian male artist, with various reports indicating sales of more than 10 million worldwide.

Trivia 1: In Kurt Cobain’s published journals, he wrote that he cried to “Seasons” as a kid (Kurt was a fan of a song about death? Shocking...). Nirvana’s trashy cover version appeared on the DVD in the 1994 box set, "With The Lights Out," featuring Kurt on drums/vocals, Dave on bass, and Krist on guitar.

Trivia 2: Various sources suggest Jacks named his power boat after the song (hey, the song more than likely paid for it, anyway).

Jacques Brel, Rod McKuen & Terry Jacks - Radio Hits of the '70s - Seasons In the SunJacques Brel, Rod McKuen & Terry Jacks - Radio Hits of the '70s - Seasons In the Sun

Terry Jacks – Seasons In The Sun (1973)