Meaning of “The Living Years” by Mike + The Mechanics
The Living Years is a song that was released by the English pop/rock group Mike + The Mechanics (Mike and the Mechanics) in 1988. The lyrics of the song talk about a son who is so full of regret for not resolving his conflict with his father before his father’s demise.
According to Mike Rutherford of Mike and the Mechanics, the lyrics of the song, which were written by Scottish songwriter and musician B.A. Robertson, are based on Robertson’s true life story. Robertson’s father passed away at a time when he and Robertson were not speaking to each other. The song also talks about the birth of Robertson’s son which occurred about three months after his father’s passing.
Prior to this revelation, many fans assumed that the song was about the misunderstandings that existed between Rutherford and his father, who died not long before the song came out. It is worth noting that the group’s record label was responsible for promoting the impression that the song was inspired by Rutherford’s strained relationship with his father. The label did this in an attempt to promote the song – a strategy that worked very well.
- The song was written by Rutherford and B.A. Robertson. Both Rutherford and Robertson had lost their fathers in 1986 during the writing process of the song. As a result of this, the song is a very personal one for them.
- The music video of the song features English actress Maggie Jones best known for playing the character Blanche Hunt in the hit soap opera Coronation Street. The young boy in the music video is Rutherford’s son Tom who was then 8 years old.
- The lead vocals on the song is sung by Paul Carrack, who also at some point in his life lost his father in a tragic accident at work.
- The song was released on December 27th, 1988 as the second single from the band’s second studio album titled Living Years.
- The Living Years is one of the most successful songs of Rutherford’s career, including his career with Genesis. The song was a hit in numerous countries across the globe. For example, on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, it peaked at number 1. In the U.K. Singles Chart, it made it to number 2. It also peaked at number one in several countries, including Canada, Australia and Ireland. In addition to topping the charts in numerous countries, the song received an Ivor Novello Award in 1989 and a Grammy Award nomination in 1990 for the Song of the Year category.