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Mary Hopkin – Those Were The Days lyrics
Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
La la la la...

Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If by chance I'd see you in the tavern
We'd smile at one another and we'd say

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
La la la la...

Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass I saw a strange reflection
Was that
lonely woman really me

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days

La la la la...

Through the door there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh my friend we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts the dreams
are still the same

Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
La la la la...
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Lyrics taken from /lyrics/m/mary_hopkin/those_were_the_days.html

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Corrected by Ducksgobaa

Those Were The Days meanings Post my meaning

  • U
    + 22
    Unregistered
    This song is not about lost love it's about life; living and growing older. It's actually an old Russian Folk Song and Mary Hopkins wasn't the only artist to record it and the original lyric was "lonely stranger" not "lonely woman." I think anyone can relate in time to this lyric the bravado of youth, it's endless possibilities tempered by life's realities till one day we stop and look back with this heartfelt nostalgia and wonder how we got to this place in time. We don't stay there in that mind frame though, we recognize that hope springs eternal, we don't give up on our dreams we are here, we live, we enjoy!
    1 reply
  • U
    + 8
    Unregistered
    I was a teenager when mary first recorded this song. My wife can sing it better than mary. I listen to it when I can, though my 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s,
    to the tune from here on. "and now i am 62 years old and no wiser. It means the same as it always has, but more so. "
    " i have a little time left and hope to return to those days, before its too late"
    1 reply
  • U
    + 6
    Unregistered
    Fond regrets, forgotten youth, takes you back doesn't it? I too used to sing this song at parties and gatherings. My boyfriend played the guitar and that was really the only song I sang. Ironically I have a russian backround and the tune just sort of spoke to me more so than the lyrics at that time. I actually wasn't aware of it being an old iconic russian tune revised, till now! How great is that? I think i'll start singing it again maybe at open mic night! Lol.
    1 reply
  • U
    + 4
    Unregistered
    To me this song is about lost love and what might've been if only the dreams of youth had not gotten in the way.
    The tavern is a metaphore for a carefree time and place where the singer once was but can never again be. "once upon a time... " in this case, the time and place was occupied by an early romance when anything and everything seemed possible.
    By verses three and four she is outside the "tavern" in the present and cannot go back in time. She hears the man's voice and sees his face, but only in her mind, "through the door... " her dreams are no longer the dreams of youth, but the wistful, equally unattainable dreams of, what if?
    This song played on the radio when I was a kid in the 60's. Its foriegn sounding beat and mental images of people drinking and laughing inside a cozy gathering place gave it an adventurous feel to me. Perhaps a place I would one day visit in a far off land. It has always reminded me of the last few weeks of summer vacation, knowing that the carefree days would soon end.
    My high school romance ended to make way for college, and our lives never came back together again.
    2 replies
  • U
    + 4
    Unregistered
    I first heard this song at school a teacher use to love it and played it for us in the library of all places. I was about 13 or 14, when I heard it, I fell in love with it and as the years have gone by I can now relate to the song. Everything seems so great when your young life seems endless and without a difficulty but as the years go by you learn the real truth of life its not always a bed of roses and everybody gets older even if it seems impossible to think about it when your young.
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  • U
    + 2
    Unregistered
    We worked together, drank together, fought for justice together in the Trade Union movement. We believed in a better future for everyone, not just ourselves. The years have gone by and the politicians have corroded hearts and minds, and the dreams have been eroded, but they still survive here and there.
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  • U
    + 2
    Unregistered
    I loved this song when I was young, when I first heard it, for the words are simple and disturbing all at once. It was obvious even then you cannot go through life without regrets and I feared old age. Now it is a comfort for it is a way into happy memories.
    She's wrong about one thing: I am older and I hope wiser. She's right about the other: the dreams are still the same.
    Old age is not to be feared.
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  • U
    + 2
    Unregistered
    This was a song I sang at parties in the days when people did this kind of thing. It was special to me even then because as a teenager I was pulled out of school early although I had done really well and it took a few years to readjust my hopes and ambitions. During this time I started to hang around with a group of bikers. The guys were mostly people who were going places but at that time were students or apprentices who did not have much money. We had regular meeting places where you just turned up and had a great laugh. The guys of course being much wilder than the girls. They were great times but the inevitable happened and they all moved on in their different ways most of them doing well, and many of them doing very well. Sadly, some died young and they are still remembered. But they were all doers. I was quite a quiet person I think I was still coming to terms with the fact that I would not have a sufficient level of education to do a lot of things I would have liked but all things considered I've done ok. That was 40 years ago and whenever I meet any of the old gang albeit 10 or 20 or 30 years we can recreate that special bond. Everybody gets a life but not everyone gets to live it. It is so important that you do, however, never forget that this moment will pass so it does well to remember to take only the good things from the moment any thing that may cause regret should be left alone. Know when to stop and move on.
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  • c
    + 1
    cyswindow
    This song is about the idealism of youth that can achieve whatever they set their mind to before they get broken and indoctrinated by the system. The key lines are:.
    "We'd live the life we choose.
    We'd fight and never lose.
    For we were young and sure to have our way. "
    Over the years, as the youths age, they lose hope in achieving their dreams and thus lose their connection to the singer. This is explained in the lines.
    "Nothing seemed the way it used to be.
    In the glass I saw a strange reflection.
    Was that lonely woman really me"
    Be at last the singer is still a youth at heart along with her close tavern friends and unlike others in their age group, they haven't given up hope for fulfilling their dreams. Explained by the lines:
    "Oh my friend we're older but no wiser.
    For in our hearts the dreams are still the same".
    Add your reply
  • d
    + 1
    Doug Stead
    For me it is stoicism at its best. As we move towards that light at the end of the tunnel of life. Emotional in there are no do-over allowing a second chance, this song recognizes life’s indifference, admirable patience and endurance shown in the face of how we chose to spend our life in the face of life – right up to meeting our own light or dark.
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  • U
    + 1
    Unregistered
    I heard this as a teenager when dating my first husband in the '60s. And, yes, we were going to change the world; we were going to own the room; we would live the life we choose, fight and never lose. Fifty years on, it still resonates. Still fighting the good fight; dreaming the dream not in spite of but because of 50 years of living, loving, losing, being right, being wrong. And because of all the people I've met along the way. Even the losses teach you how to live. But it helps if you have a friend who can remind you of What Used To Be.
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  • U
    + 1
    Unregistered
    I heard this song a few months ago on the radio and feel in love with it instantly... I knew the song was Russian immediately from the music. Knowing Russian history, it makes the song even more powerful and though provoking.
    its pretty straight foreword for the most part, She Is remembering a long Lost Love and Wishing they had stayed together instead of the reality. Personally though... when Mary Hopkins (or in fact, when I googled and listened to the traditional Russian version) the somewhat optimistic lyrics and music, speak to me that, while yes... in life she will not meet her lover again and may die alone, that she is optimistic about seeing him again in the afterlife and reminiscing/being with him for an eternity.
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  • U
    + 1
    Unregistered
    I will always love this song. Thanks God you are always here by my side. When I first heard this song I was about six years old, me and my family were in Naples, (it was just like I consumed my life because of feeling as an adult-The age six) At that age (!) everything was possible to me:) Yes, everything is possible. But if you can feel the moment, you know the memories are the greatest!
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  • d
    + 1
    dochlee
    I just recently reconnected to lots of my highschool friends from 40 yrs ago through Facebook. I immediately thought of this song and looked it up on the internet. Thank God for this site. What a wonderful song to remember the sweet memories of yesteryears! I posted a link to this site on my fb and now my friends are getting this song too. This song sung by Mary Hopkin will always be a classic to all.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    To me this song was about the Russian revolution. Students gathering in the tavern to discuss their ideals. Then afterward the reality of life in a soviet world. The joyful reunion at the end of the two older but no wiser former young lovers can still bring me to tears.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    Heard this song the first time as a teenager on a huge carnival in Bremen Germany and was fascinated by the melody, Mary's voice and the text That was about 50 years ago This wonderful song is following me since then and now since I am a little older and maybe a little wiser BUT in my heard I am still the same.I am still young at heard and try to live the life of my dreams now that I am retired I don't try to interpret any kind of meaning in the lyrics I just take them as face value Remember all the good times and stay forever YOUNG
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    Yesterday's run in the thousands! Sunrises, sunsets, all over the world. Yes, met many others; but sunrises, sunsets --- uncomparable to the days of my youth! Yes, raised poor, but i could taste life. Just like the Japanese kids who just won The Little League Championship Game against The USA Champs, Lufkin, Tx.! They too will look back to "Once Upon a Time" in their youth when they ran around the baseball field proudly displaying the champions' banner!!! They played and did not lose.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    I f I am not mistaken this song made a hit in November/December 1968. I was 20 then. I believe the lyrics were written by Lennon& Macartney I. E the Beatles after they spotted her talent on tv. Please correct me if I'm wrong. Now at 69 I really thing of those old days especially when I listen this number. I have listened many times those days. From Thinagaran. Malaysia.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    I searched for this song more than 20 years. I heard it once and did not know the artist name of the song name. Today I got it and really I am happy. This song is very wonderful reflects how the life is cruel and the choices we have sometimes against our will.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    Imho, I heard this song in Spanish and Italian version, however english version is the best, coz can describe the same kind of love between friends and between romantic feeling to someone. English version is a complete description about oneself feeling when the old times no come anymore, yes when live, enjoy, fight, smile, laughed, et cetera with whole young heart. And we stay, here, in present time with many years. And the strong and happiness isn't the same. Remembered "those days". Yes, our heart keep the same dreams of our younger time.
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  • l
    0
    Laurent
    What beautiful memories this song brings back. It was one which you can sing when you ARE young and looking forward, and NOW for me, a look back and realize how fortunate I was to have a time when I could be "naiive". While it could be a love song, it's is also a song about regret, regret about things we didn't do, and also about the naiive hopes we had. It really is a good thing about "being young".
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    I am 57 now and having the free life that I've never been able to live in the past. When I was young, the stress of success, then the family, then job, then duties. I finally find my true self in my 40's and manage to smoothly change my life to become the free and happy man I became, fulfilling all my past responsibilities. So now I can proudly say that I am definitely not dreaming of these "good old days" cause I am now living the "great current days". Life is simply awesome!
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    English was my grandmother's late in life language, learning it in her 60s when she came here from Persia. The first words she spoke in English were the words to this song. It moved me every time she sang because she had so much heart in the music - swaying, closing her eyes, and crying as she sang. Instead of La, la, la she would say die, die, die but she did not know what die meant. Today, I am pushing 60 and recently learned that my husband has cancer. The music, lost to me since my grandmother's passing over 40 years ago came to me. Now I sing this song, with my grandmother's voice, and the die, die, die instead of the la, la, la. It makes me sad but it also sets me free.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    This is a song which my brothers and sisters used to sing with one of them playing the guitar n my mother used to sing along with us. Later when I had to go away to Bombay for my marriage my brothers n sisters could not attend my wedding cos of exams, all of them were singing this song on my wedding day n crying their hearts out. Those were really THOSE days.
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  • f
    0
    flintstone
    In my opinion, this song is about loneliness. There is no reason in the story why the two people have not spent their life together. Either they are already engaged with others, or they do not think their affair is worthwhile to be lived. In any case, this song is beautiful, but quite sad too.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    Youth is full of liveliness and youngsters are headstrong and are of the belief that their determination could get them what they desire and they shall have a happy time forever but as they move towards adulthood they get so involved in the turmoils of life that their youthful undying spirit is given away to compromises, immortal struggles and responsibilities for future generations. Thus the lyricist reminisces her days of youth which she shall never be able to get back again. Thus "those were the days" which have come to an end in the lyricist's life.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    Old is gold for some people. And old may not be gold for some others. But now or later old memories may or may not be gold, it varies. I think god has created our memory in such a way that we should or may forget something in our life. Think about the present moments. God is always with you and be happy. And enjoy the song from the deepest heart. Let the shadow be the god who comes always with us. When we are born we come with power of god. When we go we go back by taking the power, which is jeevan. So enjoy the song from the deepest of your mind, heart. Wow such a nice song. It is really wonderful. I really enjoy it.
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  • U
    0
    Unregistered
    By linda rice on nov. 25, 2011 9am.
    I am going to a memorial sevice for a dear friend today. I met her about 50 years ago. I was in my teens she was in her 30s she was absolutely greta garbo gorgeous. I told her this not long ago when we saw each other in costco, her reaction was to sing this song, very well I might add. Today I will tell this story and quote this song, with a smile.
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    • U
      + 22
      Unregistered
      This song is not about lost love it's about life; living and growing older. It's actually an old... Read more →
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      I was a teenager when mary first recorded this song. My wife can sing it better than mary. I listen... Read more →

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