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Terry Jacks recorded "Seasons in the Sun" in Vancouver in 1973 with his then-wife Susan Jacks. They made the decision to record the song when The Beach Boys, who had recorded a version with Terry Jacks producing, decided to abandon their recording.
Jacks released his version as a single in 1973 on his own label, Goldfish Records. "Put the Bone In", an original composition about burying a deceased pet dog, was included as the B-side. The single soon topped the record charts in the U.S. (where it was released on Bell Records), in Canada, and the UK, selling over 14 million copies worldwide.
Jacks's version was released in the United States in December 1973, and made the Billboard Hot 100 a month later. On March 2, 1974, the song began a three-week run at number one atop the Hot 100, and remained in the top 40 until almost Memorial Day weekend. Jacks's version also spent one week on the Easy Listening charts.Billboard ranked it as the number two song for 1974. Although he released several other singles that were moderately successful in Canada, "Seasons in the Sun" would become Jacks's only major solo hit in the United States. In Canada, the single (Gold Fish GF 100) reached number one on the RPM Magazine charts January 26, 1974, and remained there four weeks.
Though the song enjoyed contemporary success, modern criticism has tended to be more critical of Jacks's rewriting of the original song, considering it overly sentimentalized. Jacks's version is commonly held up[by whom?] as an example of bad music, having been called one of the worst pop songs ever recorded, and ranking number five in a CNN poll in 2006.
Jacks also released a German language version in Germany with lyrics by Gerd Müller-Schwanke, "In den Gärten der Zeit".
Westlife made their cover version in 1999 and recorded in their album Westlife .
Parodies and alternate lyrics
The 1993 song "Twice My Age" by Shabba Ranks uses the melody of "Seasons in the Sun" with a different set of lyrics. Sean Kingston covered "Twice My Age" on his 2011 mixtape King of Kingz.
In 2002 a satirical version of the song lambasting the Canadian government's ageing Sea King helicopters was leaked to Esprit de Corps magazine. The lyrics were published in the Ottawa Citizen on November 20, 2002.
Another spoof was recorded in 2006 by Dundee United fan under the alias 'Terry Jack'. This version mocks the possible demise of Dundee United's archrivals, Dundee FC who were suffering severe financial difficulties at the time. This version contains swearing and adult themes.