G – Good Riddance (The Time of Your Life)

(Reissuing on the correct day…)

Driving down a summer highway, listening to the radio.  I hear the hurried strum of a guitar, an untrained tenor voice starts singing.  I roll up the windows and turn up the volume and sing along: 

Another turning point, a fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist, directs you where to go
So make the best of this test, and don’t ask why
It’s not a question, but a lesson learned in time

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right.
I hope you had the time of your life.  

This is another of the songs that make me drop everything and listen (and, often, sing) when I hear it.  Many of them caught my heart years ago, but while this one has been around for a while, I met it rather late.  The violins in the background, around the middle of the song, caught my attention, and I started listening.  The voice was not particularly good – I could imagine the job a more lyrical voice could do to the words…  Or perhaps not.  The singer’s voice made it seem almost conversational.

I only heard part of it.  Months passed before I heard it again.  This time I caught a string of words, did a Search, and captured the words for good:

So take the photographs, and still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf of good health and good time
Tattoos of memories and dead skin on trial
For what it’s worth it was worth all the while

It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right.
I hope you had the time of your life.

I thought the title was ‘I Hope You Have the Time of Your Life, which is how most people think of it, and how it is often listed when you do a search.  It is not, and while I suppose there is a story behind the ‘real’ title, I am not curious enough to look into it.  It sounds like an inside joke.

So…  What is it about?  Some people say death.  It has been sung at funerals.  It does have a sort of ‘Hail and Farewell’ feel to it, but on the other hand it has the feel (for me) that I get at the end of a long, busy day spent hiking (or shopping) and I’m sitting back with my feet up, feeling a pleasant ache in my legs and thinking that life has been good.

You decide for yourself.  Listen to the song and read the lyrics AT THIS SITE. 


Good Riddance lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.