Australian charts: 1973
Kevin Johnson’s biggest hit was “Rock ‘N’ Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life)” which is one of the most covered songs written by an Australian, with 27 different artists recording it in 1975 alone. Covers include fellow Australians Col Joye and Dig Richards, and international artists Mac Davis, Terry Jacks, Gary Glitter, Joe Dassin (in French), The Cats and Tom Jones.
The lyrics describe a musician recalling his childhood dream of being a star and follows his life through his musical work, with some close breaks until he is faced with the ultimate realisation that he is not destined to become a star. It ends on an upbeat note from the would-be celebrity proclaiming “I thank the lord for giving me the little that I knew”. Johnson based the early verses on his own life and the later verses “on others I’ve known. I always draw on things I know, things around me, on everyday life for my songs”.
Rock and Roll (I Gave You the Best Years of My Life) peaked at no 4 on the Go-Set National Top 40 in December 1973.
This song is also on our Spotify playlist.
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