April 25

Childhood Flashback: Roy Clark’s “Yesterday When I Was Young”

“Yesterday When I Was Young” was first known as “Hier Encore,” or “Only Yesterday.” The song was introduced byFrench singer-songwriter Charles Aznavour in 1964. Josie Pickering’s real life experience inspired the creation of the poem, that later turned into a song. She was housewife from Manchester, who became so dissatisfied with her married life that she turned to lesbianism and eventually became a dominatrix.

Hee Haw  host Roy Clark premiered his hosting career with his cover of the song in 1969. It eventually landed in the Top 10 on the country chart.  Clark dramatically started the song with a spoken word that lead into the somber recollection of a wasted youth that led to a lonely adulthood.

Country singer Roy Clark, who had just started his long-running gig as the co-host of Hee Haw, covered the song in 1969 and landed in the Top 10 on the country chart. Clark’s spoken-word intro leads into a subdued recollection of a wasted youth that led to a lonely adulthood:

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

The the song isn’t his original, he sings it as if it is his. He gets the inspiration from his teen to adulthood experience, where he admits being wild and carefree. he delivers the song in a different meaning from its original. He emphasized that one should not take things for granted. And he totally agree overindulgence to anything can cause chaos. Clark’s rendition marked the list being one of the first country tunes to break in on the rock ‘n roll radio.

Clark honored a request from Mickey Mantle and sang this at the former New York Yankee’s funeral in 1995.

Childhood Flashback: Roy Clark's “Yesterday When I Was Young” 1
Roy Clark (www.veojam.com)

Other notable cover versions

Because of its underlying message and classic instrumentalization, the song has been performed and recorded by many international stars. Among the list are Bing Crosby, Andy Williams,  Bobby Bare, Al Martino, The Peanuts, Glen Campbell,  and many other more.  According to Billboard accounts, more than 90 versions of the song were recorded before 1972.

All together, let us remember our childhood days with Roy Clark’s “Yesterday when I Was Young.” Enjoy watching!

And folks, if you like to read more articles about our favorite country stars, you can check Country Thang website or follow our Facebook Page, Country Daily.


Charles Aznavour, Hee Haw, roy clark, Yesterday When I Was Young

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