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A Thought for Today
Life is worth living not so much for what
it gives us as what it suggests.
The first day of a new month
and like every new day it holds promise. Of course fulfilling that promise
is up to each one of us. This is the first time in a long while that
perhaps all of us collectively could use some distance from our recent
past. Now might be a good time to remember that what tries to tear us
apart as a people, a country or a world also helps bring us together in
common grief, joy and purpose.
While taking care of ourselves, let’s not forget to look out for each
On to the Monday mail.
WITH LOVE FROM ENGLAND
Dear Rod, I
first bought one of your books in the late 60's, and so began my great
admiration for your work. My prize possession is a copy of Beyond the
Boardwalk, which you signed for me in 1980, when visiting a radio station
in Oxford, England, where I was living at the time.
The disc jockey who was interviewing you, was a friend of
mine, and. knowing how much your poetry meant to me, asked you to sign a
copy for me. You signed it 'with love and appreciation' - of course, you
didn't know me, but when I stumbled over your web site, I realized that it
would give me the chance to send you MY love and appreciation in return.
Over the years, and at different sad/happy times in my life, I have always
turned to your books, and the comfort and pleasure which they have given
me is immeasurable.
I am so glad to have the chance to tell you just how much I
have enjoyed your words - I have never found anything else which has
touched me so much, or given me such comfort.
of all that! I have never written a 'fan' letter before! I hope all is
good in your life, and I thank you for listening to me. Also, in the sad
events of what has happened in your country during the past weeks, I send
you much love and respect from England, Anna Thomas
Dear Anna: I’m confident I speak for all Americans when I say how much
each of us appreciates your kind words and support at this most difficult
time in the history of our country.
I don’t know anyone who hasn’t been saddened, affected and changed by the
events of September 11th. It’s times like these when we know who our real
friends are. Almost since the revolutionary war the people of Great
Britain have been our best friends and closest allies and I hope we never
take that friendship for granted.
Speaking for myself, from my first visit to your great country I’ve always
thought of it as a second home. I’ve long ago lost track of the number of
times I’ve criss-crossed the British Isles performing and enjoying your
friendly people and unique atmosphere.
A lot of my writing has been inspired by the time I’ve spent across the
pond including the songs “The Green Hills of England,” “Everybody’s Rich
But Us” and “London.” Poems I’ve written there include “A Newly Painted
Bench,” “On the Way to Manchester". I wrote and recorded film scores like
“Joanna” and “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie” in England and I’ve laid down
hundreds of tracks for both pop and classical collections with the aid of
the great British musical community.
I have indelible memories of times spent in Scotland, Ireland and Wales
and friends all over GB that I remain in touch with.
I’m glad you found “A Safe Place to Land” so that I could thank you. Luv,
MUSIC FOR GUARDIAN ANGELS
the above referenced CD last week. This is the singular most beautiful
collection of music I have ever heard. I have always thought of you as
genius but to call this collection mere genius is an underestimation of
both you and the work. No matter how trying the day has been, I can put
this CD on and within minutes I feel my spirit lifted and my mood
lightened. Thank you so very much for this music! Ann Martin
Dear Rod: I listen to your CD “Music for Guardian Angels” every day on the
way to and from work. I have to say it makes a nearly always crowded
freeway a lot easier to put up with It should be required listening for
anyone prone to Road Rage. Sincerely Warren Petruno
Dear Ann and Warren: I appreciate your comments and compliments. Creating
Music for Guardian Angels was a labor of love. It contains instrumental
music I’ve written over the years that, while unfamiliar to most people,
is very close to me.
When the CD first came out it received no publicity but little by little
word of mouth has made MFGA the current number three best-selling CD at
Stanyan By Mail, just behind The Platinum Collection and The French
Here’s are the top selling discs, books & “stuff” for the month of
1. The Platinum Collection (2 CD set)
2. The French Connection
3. Music for Guardian Angels
4. Beautiful Music to Love By (3 CD Box)
6. Listen to the Warm
7. McKuen at the Movies
8. Speaking of Love
9. Antonio Carlos Jobim: Some of the Best
10. Christmas Music for Guardian Angels
1. A Safe Place to Land (Book & CD set)
2. And Autumn Came
3. An Outstretched Hand
4. The Power Bright and Shining
6. A Man Alone
7. The Rod McKuen Datebook & Diary
8. Beyond the Boardwalk
9. Come to me In Silence
10. Fields of Wonder
1. Hand in Hand
2. Love’s Been Good to Me
3. Seasons in the Sun
5. Looking for a Friend
1. In Search of Eros (cassette
2. The Sea (LP)
3. Pastorale (LP)
4. Frank Sinatra: A Man Alone (LP)
5. Through European Windows (songbook)
6. McKuen & Pups poster
7. McKuen at Carnegie Hall poster
8. It Doesn’t Matter Who You Love T shirt
9. Rod McKuen Songbook Vol. 2
10. Rod McKuen Songbook Vol. 1
Perhaps it’s a sign of the times but “The Power Bright & Shining” was
nowhere near the top ten until last week. Now it seems as if it’s included
in every other order.
Thanks again to both of you for your words concerning “Music for Guardian
Angels". With affection, Rod
Il YA A PARFOIS DE SOUVENIRS
been looking for this record which I cannot find. Is it part of an album?
Does it have a different name in English and if so will it still be sung
in French? On what label can I find it? Is this a new recording only
available to the radio stations ?
Thank you for your help. CTS
Dear CTS: “Il Ya A Parfois De Souvenirs” is the French adaptation of “The
World I Used to Know,” it’s available on my CD “The French Connection"
(Stanyan/LazerLight 12 444) Now that my contract with LazerLight has ended
what copies are left are only sold through Stanyan By Mail.
I get a lot of comments on that particular track, not just because it’s
sung so beautifully by Eric Montry with a gorgeous orchestration by
Raymond LaFevre but because it is kind of a “mystery track” on the disc.
Let me explain; because of a mix-up in printing the song isn’t listed on
the back of the CD and on the inside in the booklet it’s marked track 22
when it should be 23.
For the record here’s the correct rundown on “The French Connection.”
2. Solitude’s My Home
3. I Think of You
6. Je Viens de Loins
7. About the Time
8. Les Bourgeous
9. 8. If You Go Away
10. Soldiers Who Want to be Heroes
11. The Far West
12. To You
13. The far Side of the Hill
14. Where Would I Be
15. Les. Amants de Cour (The Lovers)
16. Blessings of the Day
17. I’ll Say Goodbye
18. La Mer Sans Soliel
19. Un Par Un (One by One)
20. My Brother Edward
21. Seasons in the Sun
22. Il Ya Parfois de Souvenirs (The World I Used to Know)
23. Without a Worry in the World (le Meteque)
The disc is unique in that in addition to my own vocals there are
performances by Jacques Brel, Gilbert Becaud, Les Compagnons de La
Chanson, The Swingle Singers and of course Eric Montry.
As you can see from the above list “The French Connection” is currently #2
on our best-selling disc list. All the best, Rod
AHOY, MATEY ANOTHER PIRATE ALBUM
Rod, Many years ago, I had a four album set with you saying poetry in
between some very lovely songs by all kinds of singers. One of the albums
was called "Climax" and I think another was "Seduction". Do you remember
it. If so, could
you give me the complete name of it and maybe let me know where I can get
it if it is still available.
I was in the Navy during Vietnam, and believe me, it really
helped get me through some really bad times. Thanks for the
memories, Gary Glass
Dear Gary: I had forgotten all about the LP’s you mentioned until your
letter arrived. This is one of the most brazen pirate jobs in recording
history and resulted in no less than 11 lawsuits. The trouble is no one
could track down the perpetrators of this dubious project and it went off
the market almost as quickly as it arrived.
After two hours of looking through my collection I finally tracked down
all four LP’s. The umbrella title was “Love Music” and the titles of the
individual albums were “Seduction,” “Foreplay,” “Passion” and “Climax.” In
addition to appropriating 7 tracks of mine they purloined 5 by Sinatra and
Andy Williams, 4 by Henry Mancini, 3 by Tony Bennett and one or two each
by Dionne Warwick, Shirley Bassey, Dean Martin, Peggy Lee, Shelby Flint,
John Gary and a dozen or so other artists. Each LP had 16 or 17 tracks.
The albums were released in 1973 and there were no liner notes and the
only source credit listed was ‘Economic Consultants Inc.’ I have no idea
what this set would be worth if you could find one today, but it is truly
a collectors item since none of the artists or record labels involved gave
permission for use their copyrighted tracks.
The whole project was such an outrageous rip-off that I found it more of a
hoot than an insult. Glad you enjoyed it, Gary, but good luck at laying
your hands on it again. Though, after your letter I wouldn’t be surprised
if it turned up on E-bay in a week or so. Warmly, Rod
I’LL SAY GOODBYE
Rod, When I was in 8th grade (a long time ago), my teacher had several
books of your poetry. The poem that I selected was "I'll say goodbye". I
have always loved that poem and have a lot of it memorized, but I would
like to find the book. Can you please tell me which book it was in and
where I might get a copy of it?
"Heavy is the heart that has to turn and say goodbye
but as we love so do we learn, I'll say goodbye.
Cage a bird he cannot sing
I can't be caged in by a ring,
So as the chilly wind is blowing, I'll say goodbye."
This is one part that I think I remember. I hope to hear from you soon.
Sincerely, Dawn Brooks
Dear Dawn: “I’ll Say Goodbye” is a song I wrote with Gilbert Becaud. The
lyrics are printed in “Listen to the Warm,” words and music are both in
the songbook “Through European Windows” and there is a recording of it on
the CD “The French Connection.” All the best, Rod
YOU ARE WELCOME
Rod, This is not a question, query or anything like that ..... it's a
thank you so much for giving us all a Safe Place to Land, where I can take
a few minutes off from an excessively overloaded stressful job to breathe
in the peace and quiet of your magic words.
You probably have no idea what a gift your poetry is to my weary mind and
spirit. Thank you so much. Susan Irons
Dear Susan: Glad you found this site and I hope you spread the word about
it. The whole point of “A Safe Place to Land” is just what the title
suggests. It’s meant to be a refuge from noise and stress. Luv, Rod
Rod; Could you please tell me what poem of yours this lyric is from? Also,
is a copy of it available? Thanks for your time! Ronald L. Beuter
Dear Ronald: “Rock Gently” is a song lyric and the words to it are printed
in the book “New Ballads.” You can hear what the song sounds like on the
CD set “The Platinum Collection". Cheers, Rod
HERE’S TO YOU MRS. ROBERTSON
Robertson is a patient of mine and I do not remember how I mentioned you
to her. She has 2 CD’s of yours “Greatest Hits, 1” and “Greatest Hits, 2.
Unfortunately Vol., 1 is horribly scratched. Please send me pro-forma on
vol.1. Thanks, Dr. Arthur Goldstein, Monaco
Dear Dr. Goldstein (Arthur): Alas both CD’s are now out of print so I
can’t help you. Your best bet might be to post a message on the Rod McKuen
Message Board or the Stanyan Message Center. Some very nice people visit
these sites on a daily basis and you might get one of them to make you a
tape copy or burn you a CD of Vol., 1. I hope this helps. My kindest
regards to you and Mrs. Robertson. Sincerely, Rod
Is Mark Stevens (one of your band members) related to the Mark Stevens
that I remember from growing up? Jane
Dear Jane, Nope. Mark says he never been to Alameda. Cheers, Rod
ANYBODY KNOW MY NAME
McKuen, I identify with this song because I left my hometown in Ontario
when I was 17 to join the service. I don't get back too often and I don't
see many people I remember from then, it was in 1966 that I left.
It also seems to be a bit of a protest song for that tragic war. I just
bought your Carnegie Hall songbook through ebay and for the first time
realized that the song was published in 1962, the Vietnam War was just
starting. You could not have realized that it would go on for another 10
years. Did your Army service influence you in the writing? It has been a
favorite since I owned the Jimmie Rodgers LP many years ago. It is a great
but sad song. Love your work. Glen in Nova Scotia
Dear Glen: Yes, my service in Korea certainly contributed to my writing
“Doesn’t Anybody Know My Name,” also known as “2:10-6:18” The song was
Hank Williams JR’s first single but Jimmie Rodgers had the hit and his
version remains my favorite. Jimmie has his own theatre and performs
nightly in Branson.
While the song wasn’t written about any particular war, over the years it
has become associated with the Vietnam conflict. I’m pleased that you like
“Doesn’t Anybody Know My Name,” Glenn, it’s from a very productive time in
my songwriting life. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention The Kingston Trio’s
version too, since it was the first of a number of my songs they recorded.
With all the best, Rod
SPRING CAN REALLY HANG YOU UP THE MOST
Rod,, Still planning on releasing " Spring Can Really Hang You Up The
Most"? Would love to hear your version. John.
Dear John: I’ll be making a new recording of “Spring Can Really Hang you
Up the Most” before the year is out, it’s part of an album I’m calling
project X. No release date is scheduled, let’s just say it’s in the
pipeline. As ever, Rod
THE FINAL WORD
mother never saw the irony in calling me a son-of-a-bitch."
I’ll be back tomorrow with some thoughts on the third anniversary of 9/11.
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman