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"Seasons in the Sun"The potency of cheap music, revisited


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#1 dirac

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 10:37 AM

James Sullivan, for Slate, looks at the surprisingly long afterlife of the hideous early-Seventies hit, “Seasons in the Sun,” by Terry Jacks, lyrics by Rod McKuen, and speculates on possible reasons why this song has proved durable (no, it doesn’t get much airplay any more, but it’s been covered several times). Although I hadn’t heard this song for many, many years, this article brought it all back again. Sullivan quotes some of the memorable lyrics, although not my own personal favorite: “We had joy/We had fun/We had seasons in the sun/But the stars we could reach/Were just starfish on the beach.”


http://slate.msn.com/id/2114863/

Warning: this article may be hazardous to your mental functioning, at least temporarily. Sullivan mentions, in passing, the song “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero,” and all morning long my brain has processed little apart from “Billy, don’t be a hero/Don’t be a fool with your life/Billy, don’t be a hero/Come back and make me your wife.” Another half hour of this and I will throw myself out the window.

#2 perky

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:24 AM

Another half hour of this and I will throw myself out the window.

Save room for me!

I was a young girl when "Seasons in the Sun" was popular. I remember sitting with my girlfriends listening to it on our radio and we would all nod our little heads in sad silence at how the poor hero of the song has to suffer such grief! When I think of it now it makes me laugh.......or barf, possibly both.

Remember that other song from that era called "Wildfire"? About that horse that runs away? The only lyrics I can remember at the moment, (and thank God for losing brain cells as you age) is "She was calling Wildfire." I used to get myself into a pre-teen hysteria over that one! I would literally cry over the fate of that darn horse! Blah!

#3 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:32 AM

In honor of Treefrog's city. . .

"The night Chicago diiiiiiiied"

la la la la la la la etc.

You may now rip out your eardrums.

#4 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 11:47 AM

I remember that song, coming from Chicago as I do; the lyrics say something about Daddy being a cop on the East Side of Chicago, and for the most part, Chicago doesn't have an East Side per se, unless you count the lake. We thought it was very funny.

#5 sandik

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 03:04 PM

Damn you all -- I remember all these songs, and they are now playing simultaneously in my head! I'm going to have to apply my last-ditch remedy for such earworms:

"Flintstones, meet the Flintstones. They're a modern stone-age family..."

#6 dirac

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Posted 16 March 2005 - 03:20 PM

sandik, I confess I started the topic with a malicious desire to spread the pain. :lol:

Remember that other song from that era called "Wildfire"? About that horse that runs away?


All too vividly. I think I liked it, too. “Wildfire” also boasts a memorably weenie vocal from a guy who makes Terry Jacks sound like James Brown – I’ve forgotten his name, thankfully.

#7 carbro

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:07 AM

Perhaps my all-time winner for treacly goo (if from the previous decade) is "Oh Honey, I miss you/and I'm being good/and I long to be with you,/If only I could." :pinch:

Interesting point Sullivan makes that the fake grief genre was so robust as we were going through our great national nightmare of Watergate. It is understandable that as a culture, we'd need some insipid diversion then, but it certainly does not explain the persistence of Seasons in the Sun.

Thanks for the article, dirac!

Note to sandik and others afflicted with untenable earworms: Insert segments from Raymonda. It will instantly take over, banishing echoes of less worthy themes.

#8 Mme. Hermine

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:20 AM

Teen Angel, can you hear me...

#9 dirac

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 11:59 AM

It is understandable that as a culture, we'd need some insipid diversion then, but it certainly does not explain the persistence of Seasons in the Sun.


Our culture seems to have an unappeasable appetite for insipid diversion even without Watergate. :pinch:



I agree that Sullivan's explanation isn't quite satisfactory. "Seasons in the Sun” was part of a song genre that I think has died out, no pun intended, although I would be interested in hearing from our posters born in or around 1980 on this point – the Death Comes for a Teenager Song, which usually involves some unfortunate young person experiencing untimely death via car, train, motorcycle accident, drowning, disease, etc. There used to be tons of them, like Mark Dinning’s “Teen Angel” quoted by Mme. Hermine, in which the-not-too-bright-angel-to-be meets her fate by getting in front of an oncoming train in order to retrieve her boyfriend’s high school ring. And carbro's "Honey," too, although I forget how Honey kicks the bucket -- or maybe she just goes away somewhere........

#10 carbro

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 12:35 PM

Teen Angel, can you hear me...

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Aw, c'mon, Mme. Hermine! Teen Angel is a classic! :pinch: Copies of the 45 were selling for tens of dollars even in the mid-'60s! I know, because my friend refused to sell hers.

I think Honey died of consumption, like Marguerite and their operatic sisters.


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