Song Lyric Sunday: “The Last Farewell”

People who lived in Chicago during the ’80’s would see this during station breaks on WGN-TV.

For the longest time, I thought that was just a flourish they got off of one of those royalty-free collections stations would buy when they needed some music for such a purpose. So imagine my surprise when I learned there was a whole song that came after it: “The Last Farewell” by British singer Roger Whittaker. This is what Wikipedia (a/k/a The Blogger’s Best Friend ™) has to say about it:

Whittaker hosted a radio programme in The United Kingdom in 1971, backed by a full orchestra with arrangements by Zack Lawrence. Whittaker is quoted as saying that “one of the ideas I had was to invite listeners to send their poems or lyrics to me and I would make songs out of them. We got a million replies, and I did one each week for 26 weeks.” Ron A. Webster, a silversmith from Birmingham, England, sent Whittaker his poem entitled “The Last Farewell”, and this became one of the selections to appear on the radio programme. It was subsequently recorded and featured on Whittaker’s 1971 album New World in the Morning (A Special Kind of Man in the US and Canada). Although the song failed to reach the music charts then, it’s one of the fewer than forty all-time singles to have sold 10 million (or more) physical copies worldwide.

TBBF goes on to say:

According to Whittaker, the wife of a program director for a radio station in Atlanta, Georgia was travelling in Canada, in 1975, and heard Whittaker’s four-year-old recording on the radio. When she returned to the United States, she asked her husband to play it on the station. After he played the song a few times, listeners began calling the station to find out more about the song and singer, and soon thereafter “The Last Farewell” was on its way onto the charts. The single reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, peaking at number 19 in June 1975, the only single of Whittaker’s career to appear on the Hot 100. It also went to number 1 on the Billboard adult contemporary chart.

Helen assigned us the word “last” as the prompt for today’s Song Lyric Sunday, and I can’t think of a better song than this (and I thought of several). Here it is.

The lyrics, courtesy of MetroLyrics:

There’s a ship lies rigged and ready in the harbor
Tomorrow for old England she sails
Far away from your land of endless sunshine
To my land full of rainy skies and gales
And I shall be aboard that ship tomorrow
Though my heart is full of tears at this farewell

For you are beautiful
And I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful
And I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

I’ve heard there’s a wicked war a-blazing
And the taste of war I know so very well
Even now I see the foreign flag a-raising
Their guns on fire as we sail into hell
I have no fear of death, it brings no sorrow
But how bitter will be this last farewell

For you are beautiful
And I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful
And I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

Though death and darkness gather all about me
And my ship be torn apart upon the sea
I shall smell again the fragrance of these islands
In the heaving waves that brought me once to thee
And should I return safe home again to England
I shall watch the English mist roll through the dale

For you are beautiful
And I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell
For you are beautiful
And I have loved you dearly
More dearly than the spoken word can tell

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for December 2, 2018.

9 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: “The Last Farewell”

    1. “I’ll think about you as I drift along at sea, clinging desperately to a plank from my ship that’s been destroyed by a storm.” 🤣 Seriously, it is a beautiful sentiment, and besides, nothing’s happened to him. Yet…

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s