A Thought for Today
Thank God for memory, it is the closest
we can come to perfection.
Following the posting of a
letter I received from Rod over thirty years ago (see the Flight Plan of 23/05/01),
the following popped up in my mailbox from the man himself.
You're just full of surprises!
I just read your Flight Plan for today. A 50 year class reunion and a 30
year reunion with a letter all in the same week. Oh boy!
There's something even more valuable about that letter that you don't know
For a while when I lived in the first house I ever owned (Montcalm Avenue,
Hollywood, CA) I had an out of work actor come in three times a week
because among other things he was a speedy typist. I'd dictate letters to
him, he'd type them up & I'd sign them. He also helped Edward and me with
the mail order. Yes, we operated out of the house.
Around that time I got the idea for the San Sebastian Strings series and
talked Anita into writing the music. We had one problem though I recorded
for RCA and we sold the idea to Joe Smith at Warner Bros. He gave us
$10,000.00 to produce an album, the only stipulation being that he was
given no idea of what the album would be about. He had to accept the deal
on blind faith.
Things were just beginning to happen for me on several fronts and it
wasn't hard to talk him into it. Thus the San Sebastian Strings were born.
How did I choose the name? I spun a new globe that Edward had given to me
and as it slowed I closed my eyes and touched a point on the globe at
random. It turned out to be San Sebastian, Spain.
Still that problem of who was going to be the voice on the album since my
contract with RCA had a year to run.
Just then my secretary (remember him, the out of work actor?) Jesse
Pearson arrived with a stack of letters for me to sign. The rest is
history, not folklore. I don't think your letter was typed that day, that
would be too much of a coincidence, but it was typed by Jesse during that
Luv & thanks for the memory,
PS: Why do I get the feeling I've just written you a Flight Plan for an
Thanks for a fascinating
insight into the world of the San Sebastian Strings, Rod!
One of the questions I get
asked most is "who is the voice on The Sea?" I've been waiting for someone
to ask "why is the voice on The Sea not Rod's?" and when they do I'll now
be able to answer with some degree of authority. As for the naming of "The
Strings", I'm just thankful your finger didn't land on Bloemfontein when
the globe slowed. Wouldn't have had quite the same ring, somehow!
It's a very short step from
talking about Jesse and the San Sebastian Strings to "The Sea" so my
poetry choice for today comes from that very album. I only have to read
these words for Jesse's resonant voice to leap into my mind and I hope you
all enjoy this one as much as I do.
Don't forget this is your
column so if you have a favorite McKuen song or poem you'd like to share,
please drop me a line at email@example.com
and it will be my pleasure to post it right here one Wednesday.
- Ken, Johannesburg,
appearance dates just announced!
Booking for "An Evening with
Rod McKuen" at the Riverton Rendezvous is open! Click below for
Concert & Appearance Details