Song: “Seasons In The Sun” by Terry Jacks
Reached #1: March 2, 1974 (his first, 3 weeks)
A lot of people really, really hate this song.
It regularly makes “Worst Song of All Time” lists. It’s an earworm that you can’t get out of your head – trust me, you will hear “we had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun” all day today. I’m sorry.
But it’s not Terry Jacks’ fault. Well, it is, because he did the song, but he didn’t write the original version.
It started as a French-language song by Jacques Brel. Poet/singer Rod McKuen rewrote it in English. And Jacks touched up the lyrics, thinking it was the song that was going to get his career going. It did. It got his career going off a cliff.
Let’s face it, a song written as the last words of a dying man (Brel’s original was called “The Dying Man”) isn’t exactly the most uplifting song in the world. So while it got to #1 on the charts, it also put Jacks in a position of trying to follow it up – which he couldn’t do.
The thing is, this was supposed to be a Beach Boys track. Jacks was working on the song with the Beach Boys when they pulled out. Jacks decided to go ahead with the project.
Among the casualties might have been his marriage, which broke up right about the time the Seasons In The Sun album came out. Another was his career, which foundered after this – followup singles hit #68 and #97 on Billboard’s Hot 100, and he only had one more top 10 in his native Canada (where he was guaranteed radio airplay due to their Canadian Content laws).
Today, Jacks is out of the music business. He’s an environmentalist, on his third wife, and living in Vancouver.
Tomorrow, we take a trip to Rhythm Nation.
Other songs that reached #1 on March 2:
1963 – “Walk Like A Man” by the Four Seasons (their third, 3 weeks)