Friday Song: “The Living Years”

We sometimes forget those we love, and sometimes forget about songs like this one.

This song might be a little emotional for many . . .

Released in 1988, “The Living Years” was written by the founder of Mike & the Mechanics, Mike Rutherford, and Scottish songwriter B.A. Robertson. Both men had recently lost their fathers when they wrote this song, making it a personal endeavor for both.

Rutherford was following the lead of Genesis bandmates Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins in pursuing solo projects. Gabriel would never return to Genesis, and Collins was arguably the most commercially successful, but Rutherford’s success was noteworthy, as well, with Mike & the Mechanics spooling off a number of hits (you can probably bring “All I Need Is a Miracle” to mind), with “The Living Years” being their biggest. It reached #1 in the US, Canada, Ireland, and Australia, and #2 in the UK.

Paul Carrack sings lead, and he absolutely crushes it. He felt a connection to the song, as his father died in an accident when Carrack was just 11 years old.

The song is in Ab minor, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards in 1990, including Record and Song of the Year, as well as Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals and Best Video. It lost out for Song of the Year to “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” It won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically in 1989.

The children’s choir on this song came from the King’s House School in London.