Roy Clark: Yesterday When I Was Young

Some country music fans may think of Roy Clark from being on Heehaw but what I remember is his poignant song Yesterday, When I Was Young which touches the heart of anyone that ever listens to it and Roy was recently chosen to be in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Roy Clark sings Yesterday, When I Was Young.

Yesterday, When I Was Young climbed to No. 6 on the Adult Contemporary charts, No.9 on country singles chart and No.19 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

However to me it should have been No.1. I had this song on a Roy Clark record album back in the 1960’s and it was and still is one of my favorite songs.

The words to this song posted at convey what life is all about as we enter the golden years of our lives:

“It seems the love I’ve known,
has always been the most destructive kind.
I guess that’s why now,
I feel so old before my time.”

Yesterday, when I was young,
The taste of life was sweet, as rain upon my tongue,
I teased at life, as if it were a foolish game,
The way the evening breeze may tease a candle flame

The thousand dreams I dreamed, the splendid things I planned,
I always built, alas, on weak and shifting sand,
I lived by night, and shunned the naked light of day,
And only now, I see, how the years ran away

Yesterday, when I was young,
So many happy songs were waiting to be sung,
So many wild pleasures 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,
I never stopped to think, what life, was all about,
And every conversation, I can now recall,
Concerned itself with me, and nothing else at all

Yesterday, the moon was blue,
And every crazy day, brought something new to do,
I used my magic age, as if it were a wand,
And never saw the worst, and the emptiness beyond

The game of love I played, with arrogance and pride,
And every flame I lit, too quickly, quickly died,
The friends I made, all seemed somehow to drift away,
And only I am left, on stage to end the play

There are so many songs in me, that won’t be sung,
I feel the bitter taste, of tears upon my tongue,
The time has come for me to pay,
For yesterday, when I was young

This may be one of best written songs ever because you can relive in your mind once again what you were thinking years ago when life seemed to have so much to offer.

Then as the years go by life experiences tell you that there are many thorns along the path to encounter before your dreams can be realized if ever.

We have like the song says teased at life like it was a foolish game but we found out life was not a game but a series of ups and downs as we live out our lives.

We see our loved ones die like my cousin being killed in Vietnam when he is barely in his twenties….my mom laying in a hospital bed for the last 80 days of her life waiting for the inevitable last breath.

My uncle that died in his 30’s from cancer with a wife and young kids left behind to struggle on their own.

Like the last verse says….There are so many songs in me that won’t be sung…. as much as I would like to sing them because…the time has come for me to pay for yesterday when I was young.

It is fitting that Roy Clark recently became a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. He may not be the best known name in country music but I will always remember him singing…Yesterday, when I was young.

Author: Andrew Godfrey

Retired from newspaper work after 38 years. Had served in the Army in Hawaii and Vietnam in the 60's. Am now retired and living in Sulphur, Louisiana.

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