The Best Years of Our Lives is the third studio album by Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, released in 1975. It was the first album that featured Harley's name ahead of the band's (the band was previously known simply as Cockney Rebel). The album contains the band's only UK number one, the million-selling "Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me)". The album was produced by Harley and Alan Parsons.
The original Cockney Rebel line-up split up during 1974. After an extensive tour promoting the band's second album The Psychomodo, the band members, with the exception of drummer Stuart Elliott, confronted Harley on songwriting issues. The members left Harley, who then had to assemble a new line-up. Harley announced in the Record Mirror of 3 August 1974 that he was going to return with "the greatest rock 'n' roll band ever heard. In the meantime, to keep the momentum going, Harley released his debut solo single "Big Big Deal". The band, now under the name Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, were made up of guitarist Jim Cregan, bassist George Ford, keyboardist Duncan Mackay, and Stuart Elliott on drums. The band went into the studio during November and December 1974 to record the third Cockney Rebel album.
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel.
Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel – Introducing 'The Best Years'. Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel – Introducing 'The Best Years'. Steve Harley, Cockney Rebel – The Best Years of Our Lives. Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel Live – The Best Years Of Our Lives. STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBELl - The Best Years Of Our Lives (1976) – 08. 49th Parallel. Cockney Rebel – The Best Years Of Our Lives. Cockney Rebel – The best years of our life/sweet dreams. STEVE HARLEY & COCKNEY REBELl - The Best Years Of Our Lives (1976) – 03. Mr. Raffles.
By his third album, Steve Harley had developed a strong grasp of how to combine his artistic ambitions with strongly crafted pop tunes that win the casual listener over to his artsy cause. The result was The Best Years of Our Lives, the most successful album of his mid-'70s heyday. This album was a big hit in his native England, thanks to the fact that it spawned two major hit singles. The first was "Mr. Raffles," a surreal yet romanticized portrait of a outlaw.