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Mike + The Mechanics - The Living Years (1988)

  • Video Views 8,031,485
  • 80's Score80's Score 80's score: 2.07

"The Living Years" is a ballad written by B. A. Robertson and Mike Rutherford, and recorded by Rutherford's British rock band ...

"The Living Years" is a ballad written by B. A. Robertson and Mike Rutherford, and recorded by Rutherford's British rock band Mike + The Mechanics. It was released in December 1988 in the United Kingdom and in the United States 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 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. 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 song was featured in the finale of American Horror Story: 1984, which aired on 13 November 2019.

Music video

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.

The video also shows the group playing the song, with two sets of choirs singing the chorus with them, an all-boys church choir and an adult choir.