Cherise Spins: Terry Jacks’ Seasons in the Sun

Like much of the music I listen to, I first heard Terry Jacks in the car as a child. It was the station my mom listened to.

The station played a few of his hits, both solo and with the Poppy family. But the song that stays with me most is “Seasons in the Sun.”

In the song, the “narrator” is saying good-bye to his best friend, dad and daughter (or wife? Some people think it’s that) before he dies. Here is the first verse. You’ll get the idea.

Goodbye to you my trusted friend
We’ve known each other since we were nine or ten
Together we’ve climbed hills and trees
Learned of love and ABC’s
Skinned our hearts and skinned our knees
Goodbyemy friend it’s hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky
Now that spring is in the air
Pretty girls are everywhere
Think of me and I’ll be there

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time

I remember as a kid hearing this and always thinking of my best friend Amy. I thought about how we are both going to grow up together and get old, and that eventually one of us was going to die. Simply morbid? Perhaps. But remember, I was six. It’s not like I was wrong either (We’re both now 25 now and we’re still alive so we’re not there yet, thank God.)

This would be perhaps a devastating revelation for a six-year-old to have in the Wendy’s drive-thru with your mom, but I can’t remember feeling particularly sad, scared or distressed when I heard this sing come on. From the opening chords to Jack’s tender vocals, it was almost comforting. Saying goodbye is painful. Knowing you’re going to die is painful. But when you’re knowingly at death’s door, perhaps there might be this acceptance of fate. For some anyway, maybe. I think this song touches on that.

We had joy, we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the wine and the song
Like the seasons have all gone

All our lives we had fun
We had seasons in the sun
But the hills that we climbed
Were just seasons out of time

Apparently the song was intended for the Beach Boys, however, they decide not to record it. Jacks decided to record it him, which was a good thing because it ended up becoming one of the biggest selling Canadian singles of all time and the largest-selling international single by a Canadian artist at that time.

So, when I saw a copy of Seasons in the Sun on vinyl for $6, it was a no-brainer to grab it. It’s pressed by Goldfish Records, which was Jack’s label. I couldn’t find much more about it, but according to Discogs, Goldfish pressed his wife Susan Jack’s records and Canadian band Chilliwack. This album also had another hit on it, “Concrete Sea” as well as “I’m Gonna Love You Too. (which is obviously a cover, but it got played in Canada a least.)

Besides his own solo work, Jacks played a huge role in writing, producing and recording for other artists. He’s truly a Canadian music treasure.

Cherise Letson is the co-host of the Strange Grooves podcast.

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Cherise is the co-host of the Strange Grooves podcast. She started collecting vinyl back in high school, but her love of classic rock and AM Radio hits goes back long before that. When she’s not listening to music, Cherise is the Associate Editor of Huddle Today, an online business publication that covers Atlantic Canada. She’s previously worked for CBC New Brunswick, The Canadian Press and the Telegraph-Journal, among other great publications.

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