SLS

Song Lyric Sunday – The Living Years

The prompt from Jim:

This week the theme is songs that feature the lyrics of either Past, Present, or Future.


Losing someone we love impacts us in deep and meaningful ways – often lasting a lifetime. Hopefully we have all learned by now to say all the things we want to say so we are left with no regrets.

”The Living Years” was written by Mike Rutherford (founder of Mike + The Mechanics) and B.A. Robertson. Both writers lost their fathers and each wrote part of the lyrics based on their personal experience. The music was composed with only the first verse penned. The other verses would come later.

Paul Carrack, lead vocalist on this song also lost his father when he was eleven.

Released in December of 1988, the song would reach #1 in the US, Canada, Australia, and Ireland. It would make it to the #2 spot in the UK.

This song pushed Mike + The Mechanics onto the Adult Contemporary radio stations which impacted their radio time on rock stations in the US. When they released new rock singles, they had a difficult time getting AirPlay in the US.

The Living Years
Lyrics from songfacts.com

Every generation
Blames the one before
And all of their frustrations
Come beating on your door

I know that I’m a prisoner
To all my Father held so dear
I know that I’m a hostage
To all his hopes and fears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Oh, crumpled bits of paper
Filled with imperfect thought
Stilted conversations
I’m afraid that’s all we’ve got

You say you just don’t see it
He says it’s perfect sense
You just can’t get agreement
In this present tense
We all talk a different language
Talking in defence

Say it loud (say it loud), say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So we open up a quarrel
Between the present and the past
We only sacrifice the future
It’s the bitterness that lasts

So don’t yield to the fortunes
You sometimes see as fate
It may have a new perspective
On a different day
And if you don’t give up, and don’t give in
You may just be okay

So say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
Because it’s too late, it’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (oh when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

I wasn’t there that morning
When my Father passed away
I didn’t get to tell him
All the things I had to say

I think I caught his spirit
Later that same year
I’m sure I heard his echo
In my baby’s new born tears
I just wish I could have told him in the living years

Say it loud, say it clear (oh say it clear)
You can listen as well as you hear
It’s too late (it’s too late) when we die (it’s too late when we die)
To admit we don’t see eye to eye

So say it, say it, say it loud (say it loud)
Say it clear (come on say it clear)


Song Lyric Sunday is hosted every Sunday by Jim Adams. If you would like to join in the fun, check out his blog for the rules and to take in all the other music posted by other bloggers.

18 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday – The Living Years”

  1. Paul is a great singer. ‘Looking back over my shoulder’ is a wonderful song, and I might have chosen it as a ‘Past’ reference if you hadn’t already featured him. Instead, I am going back to when I was 20 years old, (almost 50 years ago) with a song that was marketed as ‘Folk’, but I always thought it was so much more.

    Living In The Past by Jethro Tull. (1972)

    Happy, and I’m smiling
    Walk a mile to drink your water
    You know I’d love to love you
    And above you there’s no other
    We’ll go walking out
    While others shout of war’s disa-aa-aster

    [Refrain]
    Oh, we won’t give in
    Let’s go living in the past

    [Bridge]

    [Verse 2]
    Once I used to join in
    Every boy an’ girl was my friend
    Now there’s revolution
    But they don’t know what they’re fighting
    Let us close our eyes
    Outside their lives go on much fa-aa-aster

    [Refrain]
    Oh, we won’t give in
    We’ll keep living in the past

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. John, I am so sorry to hear how young you were when you lost your dad. I cannot even imagine. I lost my mom when I was 19. The song definitely says a lot for all of us who lost someone too early. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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