Songs You May Have Missed #710

Mashmakhan: “As the Years Go By” (1970)

Somewhere there exists a VHS tape, recorded in the 90’s, of my young offspring lying corpselike across the living room floor and furniture, pretending to be dead, while the spooky intro to this song begins to play from my boombox.

As the organ swells they slowly rise like zombies, then as the band kicks into the playful uptempo section of the preamble, the kids bounce around the room in random, goofy improvised dance–something like a precurser to the Harlem Shake. Or something. I guess you had to be there.

What my kids to this day refer to as “The Dead Song” was Montreal band Mashmakhan’s idiosynchratic 1970 #31 hit “As the Years Go By”, which depending on your age and awareness at the time may be unfamiliar, or possibly exists on the edge of your musical memory. The band never charted another U.S. hit.

But their heartfelt, anthemic examination of the manifold meanings of the phrase “I Love You” is deserving of four minutes of your attention. Dancing like a zombie is optional.

This seems like the kind of song that could only have come from the era it did–indeed, compositionally the closest comparision in terms of chart hits may be Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525” of the previous year, although that song was much more commercially successful, claiming the #1 chart position for 6 straight weeks.

But hey, “As the Years Go By” was a million seller in Japan.

And in my house, too, “The Dead Song” was a big hit.

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