| "Too Many Friends"|
Cassette Single, 7"
Soft rock, pop rock
| 27 December 1988|
"The Living Years" is a ballad written by Mike Rutherford and B. A. Robertson, and recorded by Rutherford's English rock band Mike + The Mechanics. It was released in December 1988 in the UK and in the US as the second single from their album, Living Years. The song was a chart hit around the world, topping the US Billboard Hot 100 on 25 March 1989, and reaching No.1 in Canada and Australia and No.2 in the UK. It spent four weeks at No. 1 on the US Adult Contemporary chart. Paul Carrack sings lead vocals on the track.
The song addresses a son's regret over unresolved conflict with his now-deceased father. It won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically & Lyrically in 1989, and was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 1990. In 1996, famed composer Burt Bacharach opined: "'The Living Years' is one of the finest lyrics of the last 10 years."
In 2004, "The Living Years" was awarded a 4 Million-Air citation by BMI.
The Living Years Wikipedia
The Mike + The Mechanics version was initially promoted to give the impression about the disagreements between Mike Rutherford and his father, who had recently died. In an interview with Rutherford, he said:
"The lyrics were written by BA [Robertson] and the song is about something he went through. He lost his dad and it's about the lack of communication between him and his father before he died. There's also the irony of him having a baby just after losing his father."
The music video was directed by Tim Broad and premiered in January 1989. It was filmed in October 1988 in West Somerset, England near Porlock Weir and the hamlet of Culbone. The video features Mike Rutherford with his then eight-year-old son, Tom. It also includes an appearance by actress Maggie Jones, best known for playing Blanche Hunt in the soap opera Coronation Street.
There are dozens of recordings of the song, instrumental as well as vocal, reggae to classical crossover, from artists as diverse as American country music band Alabama, West End theatre star Michael Ball, Marcia Hines, Engelbert Humperdinck, James Last, The London Symphony Orchestra, Christian artist Russ Lee, Rhydian, John Tesh, Russell Watson, the London Community Gospel Choir, the Newsboys, The Isaacs and The Katinas.
Mike + The Mechanics band member Paul Carrack, who performed the original lead vocal, has made a number of solo interpretations. Carrack's father died in an industrial accident when he was eleven. It is still a mainstay of Carrack's live performances today.