On this day in music history: March 25, 1989 - “The Living Years” by Mike + The Mechanics hits #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 1 week, also topping the Adult Contemporary chart for 4 weeks on February 25, 1989. Written by Mike Rutherford and B.A. Robertson, it is the biggest hit for the British rock band led by Genesis guitarist and bassist Mike Rutherford. Formed in 1985 as a side project from his regular gig as a member of Genesis, Mike + The Mechanics consists of Rutherford, former Ace and Squeeze lead vocalist Paul Carrack, vocalist and percussionist Paul Young (not to be confused with the British blue eyed soul singer of the same name), drummer Peter Van Hooke and keyboardist Adrian Lee. The band spin three singles off their self-titled debut album released at the end of 1985. The albums first single “Silent Running (On Dangerous Ground)” (#6 Pop)written by Rutherford and songwriter B.A. Robertson is their first major hit. With Genesis taking another extended hiatus after the hugely successful “Invisible Touch” album and tour, Mike + The Mechanics begin work on their second album in the Spring of 1988. Rutherford and Robertson collaborate again, writing four of the new albums ten songs. Having both recently lost their fathers, both find out that besides sharing that loss in common, that they had experienced difficulty in communicating with their fathers, and had tense relationships with them. During this time, Rutherford and Robertson had also seen the birth of sons themselves. From this discussion, the pair write “The Living Years”, expressing their feelings of regret over being unable break down the barriers between themselves and their fathers, and not wanting that to happen with their own children. Sung by Paul Carrack who also lost his father at the age of eleven, adds another layer of poignancy to the song through his heartfelt and soulful vocal performance. Released as the title track and first single on December 27, 1988, it is an immediate smash. Entering the Hot 100 at #79 on January 7, 1989, it climbs to the top of the chart eleven weeks later. The song receives three Grammy nominations for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal, Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year in 1990, with the band turning in a memorable performance on the Grammy telecast. Over the years, “The Living Years” has been covered by various artists including James Last, Engelbert Humperdinck, Alabama and The London Symphony Orchestra.from Jeff Harris' wonderful music blog
Sunday, March 26, 2017
Such a fine song and this hit me hard when it came out as I had not long lost my dad [and brother within eighteen months of each other] prior to '88. This summed up the feelings of what it is like to be a son who was from the generation that could not talk to their fathers and did not use the word 'love' so readily as we might today. This inevitably reduced me to tears every time I heard it and still does . . . . I have been a life long fan of Paul Carrack's voice and performances from 'How Long' to working with Eric Clapton but this sentimental song holds a special place in my heart.