Music Friday: Stevie Wonder Sings About Preserving the Wonders of Youth in ‘The Outsiders’ Theme Song, ‘Stay Gold’

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you great songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the lyrics or title. Today, we have the legendary Stevie Wonder singing “Stay Gold,” a beautiful ballad he co-wrote for the 1983 cult movie classic, The Outsiders.

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In the song inspired by Robert Frost’s 1923 poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” Wonder sings about striving to hold onto the wondrous, pure, innocent and exciting “goldenness” of youth.

“Stay Gold,” which runs during the opening credits of The Outsiders, starts with these memorable lyrics: “Seize upon that moment long ago / One breath away and there you will be / So young and carefree / Again you will see / That place in time… so gold.”

The Outsiders was adapted from a 1967 novel by teenage author S.E. (Susan Eloise) Hinton who based the story on her own experiences in an Oklahoma high school, which was divided by rival gangs, the hardscrabble Greasers and the wealthier Socs (pronounced “soashes”).

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The movie has become a cult favorite, partly because Hinton’s book has become required reading in many high schools and mostly due to the fact that every teenage actor in the cast went on to become a Hollywood A-list heartthrob. The cast included Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Ralph Macchio, Emilio Estevez, C. Thomas Howell, Matt Dillon and Tom Cruise.

The Robert Frost poem, “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” plays a vital role in the film, as Ponyboy (played by Howell) reads it to an injured Johnny (Macchio) while they are in hiding, but says he really doesn’t understand it. “Stay gold” are Johnny’s last words before he dies. Later in the film, Ponyboy finds Johnny’s interpretation of the Frost poem: that beauty and innocence are transient and must be guarded like gold.

While Wonder penned the lyrics to “Stay Gold,” the music was composed by Francis Ford Coppola’s father, Carmine, who contributed original music to a number of his son’s other blockbuster films, including The Godfather trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Please check out Stevie Wonder’s live performance of “Stay Gold.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Stay Gold”
Lyrics by Stevie Wonder and music by Carmine Coppola. Performed by Stevie Wonder.

Seize upon that moment long ago
One breath away and there you will be
So young and carefree
Again you will see
That place in time… so gold

Steal away into that way back when
You thought that all would last forever
But like the weather
Nothing can ever… and be in time
Stay gold

But can it be
When we can see
So vividly
A memory
And yes you say
So must the day
Too, fade away
And leave a ray of sun
So gold

Life is but a twinkling of an eye
Yet filled with sorrow and compassion
though not imagined
All things that happen
Will age too old
Though gold

Images: Facebook/StevieWonder; Outsiders publicity shot.

 

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