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      THIS ONE DOES IT FOR ME!

A Thought for Today

Each man's needs should far exceed his grasp, or what are needs for?

 

Dear Ken,

I am curious as to the lyrics of "Happy Birthday to Me", could you forward them to me, or publish them on the web page? I am especially intrigued because, of this song, Sinatra said it "hit too close to home." Also, are there any recordings of it, and where could I purchase a copy? 

Thanks.

CCoppula


Hi Ken,

I've heard a rumor that there was a song/poem composed for "A Man Alone" called "Happy Birthday to Me." May we please have the lyrics to this song/poem?

Thanks

Josh Hajek

Thanks for the requests, C and Josh.

Here, in Rod's own words, is the story behind the exclusion of the song from the "Man Alone" album:

"For awhile "Love's Been Good To Me" was known around the house as "the song Iíd like to get to Sinatra." Itís inclusion in the album came about because Frank thought that another song Iíd written for "A Man Alone" was too close to home. The song, "People On Their Birthdays", opens with the following couplet: 

People On Their birthdays will take a drink or two
and tell you how they won the war in nineteen forty-two,
some other Sunday before the swing came down
and papa smashed the car up on his way in from the town. 


Frankís pop was by no means a boozer, but toward the end of his life he was beginning to have memory problems. Unfortunately, his memory failed him a couple of times while he was behind the wheel. While no one was ever hurt, [it was usually a fender bender] the Jersey State Police called Frank more than once to advise him of the problem. "What can I do?." he once asked me. "Easy," I replied, "Get his license revoked." "I canít do that." he replied. "Sure you can, youíre Frank Sinatra." He seemed to forget that on some of the most important occasions. The totally ego driven Sinatra, written about by so many, remained unknown to me during our long years of friendship."

To the best of my knowledge the only recording of it appears on the 1969 Carnegie Hall "Sold Out" album. Rod mentioned the other day that the CD was sold out but Dwight at Stanyan By Mail may have some vinyl copies left. Check the site out at http://members.aol.com/StanyanByMail

The address for your favorite McKuen songs and poems is ken@mckuen.com . Look forward to hearing from you soon.

                                        - Ken, Johannesburg, April 11

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notable birthdays Dean Acheson o Hugh Carey o Oleg Cassini o Paul Douglas o Joel Grey o Charles Evans Hughes o Bill Irwin Ethel Kennedy o Kelly Lange o Louise Lasser o Connie Martinson o John Milius o Marvin Schwartz o Dorothy Shay o Meshach Taylor o Lucky Vanous
Rod's random thoughts Force circumstances to your favor, but never at a cost to someone else.

Home is not a dwelling place, only an entrance.

Even age and time take on a sameness with age and time.

PEOPLE ON THEIR BIRTHDAYS

People on their birthdays will take a drink or two
and tell you how they won the prize in Nineteen Forty-Two,
some other Sunday before the swing came down
and papa smashed the car up on his way in from the town.

People on their birthdays all live in yesterday
before the kids grew up and went their own ambitious way
wasn't it something that long-ago July
that's about the time birthday people start to cry.

Happy Birthday, drink a toast to me
I'm all of ten and goin' on a hundred twenty-three.

People on their birthdays are fond of looking back
to half remembered yesterdays when things were not so black
some other summer when playin' ball was fun
and life's rewards were choc'late bars and two-bit bubble gum.

Happy Birthday, drink a toast to me
I'm all of ten and goin' on a hundred twenty-three.

People on their birthdays should have a choc'late cake
and be prepared tomorrow for a mem'ry bellyache
looks like a rainstorm beyond the cloudy sky
birthdays come so often, I've forgotten how to cry. 

       - from the songbook "Sold Out - Rod McKuen at Carnegie Hall", 1969

© 1969, 1970, 1986, 2001 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved
Birthday research by Wade Alexander o Poetry from the collection of Jay Hagan o Coordinated by Melinda Smith
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