“Seasons in the Sun” is the 1973 hit single from Canadian singer Terry Jack, which was originally an English language adaptation of the 1961 song “Le Moribond” by Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Berl. The lyrics were then rewritten in 1963 by American singer-poet Rod McKuen, who is credited on Terry Jack’s cover of the song. “Seasons in the Sun” is the eleventh track on Jacks’ debut album of the same name.
The original version by Berl details a man dying of a broken heart while he says his last farewells to his best friend, a priest and his wife who cheated on him. When Rod McKuen translated the lyrics into English in 1963, the American folk and pop group the Kingston Trio recorded what would be the first English rendition of “Seasons in the Sun” or “Le Moribond”. From this, Jacks created the foundations for his version.
Despite Jacks rewriting the lyrics for his version, he is not credited for this. The inspiration for Jacks version came from one of his friends who was sadly suffering from acute leukaemia and passed away four months later. In Jacks’ version, the songs tell the story of a dying man telling his last words to his loved ones. In Jacks’ version, the man addresses his childhood friend, his father and potentially a daughter or niece.
There was no music video release for “Seasons in the Sun”, but there is an official audio upload available on Terry Jacks YouTube channel. Since its upload in 2013, the video has 20.2 million views with 165 thousand likes. Despite the song’s success it was ranked at #5 on “one of the worst pop songs ever recorded” list in a CNN poll in 2006.
Read the lyrics to “Seasons in the Sun” here.