7 81923-2 Living Years
Produced by Christopher Neil & Mike Rutherford
Released on 1988
Find it at GEMM
7 81923-2 cover
[high resolution scan

I f you thought Genesis got better beginning with Abacab, you may find The Living Years the living end. Featuring top-notch production, clever and sometimes quirky synthesizer sounds, and possessed of a big pair of Pauls (Carrack, Young), Mike + The Mechanics bridged the gap between latter-day Genesis and Foreigner. (I liked the gap the way it was, but what do I know?) The Living Years contained the #1 title track, the very definition of adult contemporary pop as a grown man witnesses the passing of one generation and the beginning of another. The remaining tracks are less heavy but still see the world through grown-up eyes: “Blame,” “Why Me?” The lyrical concerns are similar to the work of Phil Collins, alternating between love songs (love lost and kept) and concerns over man’s inhumanity to man. Love and war make the musical world go ‘round, I suppose. As a testament to the role of production in the final product, producer Chris Neil receives several cowriting credits with Rutherford. As with Genesis recently, the keyboards often try a neat little gimmick to give them personality; “Don’t” and the Mama-soundalike “Nobody’s Perfect” are the best examples of this. If you’re looking for a deeper connection to that band, “Black & Blue” features a recycled Genesis riff; as it turns out, it’s a good thing Mike didn’t throw it out. The Living Years isn’t progressive rock by any measure, but if you enjoy the solo work of Phil Collins or Foreigner’s ballads, you’ll agree that several of these songs are tinkered to perfection. It’s actually aged better than I expected and certainly deserves a place alongside albums We Can’t Dance and Both Sides. Where that place is, well, you know better than I know.

7 81923-2 back sleeve
7 81923-2 back sleeve


  1. NOBODY'S PERFECT    (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)    4:48
  2. THE LIVING YEARS    (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)    5:32
  3. SEEING IS BELIEVING    (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson)    3:13
  4. NOBODY KNOWS    (Mike Rutherford/Chris Neil)    4:24
  5. POOR BOY DOWN    (Mike Rutherford/Chris Neil)    4:33
  6. BLAME    (Mike Rutherford/Chris Neil)    5:24
  7. DON'T    (Mike Rutherford/Chris Neil)    5:45
  8. BLACK & BLUE    (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Robertson/Paul Young)    3:27
  9. BEAUTIFUL DAY    (Mike Rutherford/Chris Neil/Paul Young)    3:39
  10. WHY ME?    (Mike Rutherford/B.A. Rutherford)    6:26


PAUL CARRACK -- vocals, backing vocals
ADRIAN LEE -- keyboards
MIKE RUTHERFORD -- guitar, bass
PAUL YOUNG -- vocals, backing vocals
Alan Carvell -- backing vocals
Phil Collins -- riff (8)
Martin Ditcham -- percussion
Sal Gallina -- Yamaha WX7
Luis Jardin -- percussion
King's House School Choir -- choir
Alan Murphy -- guitar
Chris Neil -- backing vocals
B.A. Robertson -- additional keyboards
Michael Stuckey -- choir leader
Nick Davis -- engineer
Tony Banks -- recording (8)
Halpin Grey Vermeir -- sleeve design
Geoff Halpin -- black & white photography
John Swannell -- colour portraits

return to MIKE + THE MECHANICS discography

UK 1988 WEA LP/CS WX203/C lyric sleeve
US 1988 Atlantic CD/CS 81923 lyric sleeve
GER 1988 WEA LP/CD 256 004 picture sleeve
EUR   EMI CD 842828  
UK   Simply Vinyl LP 3346031019 180g vinyl


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