Yesterday When I was Young

I have been listening to this haunting and truthful song Yesterday When I was Young since my youth. This song, originally known as Hier Encore (Yesterday Again) in French, was released in 1961. I am so glad that I have been listening to it since I was young so that I was aware of the many pitfalls of life before time quickly passed away. The lyrics, which are reproduced below, deserve a good read:

Yesterday when I was young The taste of life was sweet like rain upon my tongue, I teased at life as if it were a foolish game The way an evening breeze would tease a candle flame. The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned I always built to last on weak and shifting sand, I lived by night and shunned the naked light of day And only now I see how the years have run away.

Yesterday when I was young There were so many songs that waited to be sung, So many wild pleasures that lay in store for me And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see, I ran so fast that time and youth at last ran out and I never stopped to think what life was all about, And every conversation that I can recall Concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all.

Yesterday the moon was blue And every crazy day brought something new to do, And I used my magic age as if it were a wand And never saw the waste and emptiness beyond, The game of love I played with arrogance and pride And every flame I lit so quickly, quickly died The friends I made all seemed, somehow, to drift away And only I am left on stage to end the play.

Yesterday when I was young There were so many songs that waited to be sung, So many wild pleasures lay in store for me And so much pain my dazzled eyes refused to see, There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung Cause I feel the bitter taste of tears upon my tongue And the time has come for me to pay for yesterday When I was young.

I am glad that I have not acted with arrogance and pride nor have I always build to last on weak and  shifting sand ( how dare I, as a civil engineer!)

Listening to it now, one must come to terms that time has quickly passed away and we are no longer youthful. However, there are positive messages from this song. . . . . we should not be fear of aging. One is only old when one’s regrets begin to take the place of one’s dreams. We must therefore take each day as a gift and treasure the present moments, as NOW is the essence.

This song was first sung by the American-French singer Charles Aznavour and later covered by many singers. The singer covering this song whom I like best is Dusty Springfield  DUSTY SPRINGFIELD ~ Yesterday When I was Young ~.wmv .

Those who prefer a male soulful voice is invited to listen to the original singer Charles Aznavour “Yesterday When I Was Young”

10 thoughts on “Yesterday When I was Young

  1. I can still remember when I was thirteen, I said to myself, “time flies, and you must make good use of your time and must not waste your life”. And now 40 years has swiftly past, and time really flies. When I talked about this to my daughters, they were amazed that I was so mature at that age. But I don’t think that they have taken it as seriously as I would like them to.

  2. Hi James,
    It is always difficult to convince young people when they think they have the world.
    It would be more convincing to give them examples of people who end up leading dismal lives through wasting their time, in the same manner as asking repented drug addicts to give talks on how their lives have almost been destroyed through taking drugs.
    The last sentence in the song is food for thought . . . .the time has come for me to pay for yesterday.
    Indeed, this song is for the young. To us, this is only of nostalgic value.

  3. Pingback: ‘Hier Encour’ ~Yesterday When I was Young | holistic complications

  4. I came back to your music-related posts, Michael, because of the fact there are so many wonderful and diverse sounds out there. I love music of all kinds, genres, generations, etc., and I thought about the songs you wrote about here. Then, when I noticed you liked my little old North Carolina Merlefest Music Festival videos and images, I realized how far-reaching and how people are touched by music regardless of where they are. Can’t imagine a life without hearing music….

    • Hi, music is our common language and you are so right. . . I can’t imagine a day without listening to music. Your kind comments are appreciated 🙂

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