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Rod in action at The Riverton Rendezvous, July 2001.
Photograph courtesy Jay Hagan.
A Thought for Today
If a cat isnít proof of God, what is?
The devastation in New
York City today, which continues as I write, will impact on many lives
for years to come.
Our thoughts and prayers
are with all our American friends.
Iím back in the studio again
all day today, still mastering and on deadline for the new albums. I got
home only once over the weekend, just in time for an earthquake centered
about a mile from the house. Iíve been through dozens of quakes and
aftershocks over the past thirty years and itís hard to believe this one
only registered a 4.2.
With less than a dozen days left till the Autumn Equinox summer will soon
be a memory. I hope your season in the sun is winding down well, mine has
indeed been memorable and busy and if I can ever get out of the studio for
longer than a couple of hours I hope to share some of it with you. As
usual Iím trying to hang on to these last warm hours as long as possible.
This is the time of year I start to envy my friends in Australia, New
Zealand, South Africa and other spots the Southern Sun falls on because
they are just heading into spring with months of summer days ahead.
Todayís letters and the poetry and prose Iíve chosen deal with what else
but . . .
SEASONS IN THE SUN
Rod, I remember first hearing Terry Jacks version of this song when I was
8 years old. It had a profound effect on me and is still my favourite song
of all time. I guess that's how I got into your poetry so it is a song I
cherish very much.
My question is this: There have been many versions of this song, (and,
without sitting in judgment- your words not mine!), do you have a
particular favourite? Kindest Regards, Andy Bridgnorth, England.
Dear Andy, at the risk of sounding a trifle immodest Iíd have to say that
my favorite version of ďSeasons in the SunĒ is usually the one I did at my
last concert. If that sounds a bit strange itís just that of all my songs
this is indeed one of the most personal and I feel the author tells the
story best. For that reason I believe the best version on disc is the
original French Language recording by its author Jacques Brel.
Iíve recorded it several times and am less than satisfied with most of my
own versions and I donít enjoy listening to them as much as I do actually
performing ĎSeasons.í Thanks for asking Andy, Warmly, Rod
WHY DID YOU WRITE SEASONS IN THE SUN?
you write seasons in the sun? Please answer this question, thank you.
Dear Clare, Your letter and the end of summer gives me a good reason to
reprint my Ďauthorís noteí from the book ďSeasons in the Sun,Ē I think it
can answer your question best. Sincerely, Rod
STRETCHING THE SUMMER
Every year Iíve tried to make the summer stretch a little longer. I come
to Mexico in January and February to write - always assured Iíll find the
sun. My concerts in the fall are planned in countries like Australia to
catch the places and people as their summer begins. At home in California,
Iím at the beach or stretched out in the backyard the first day of March
and the last sunshiny hour of October.
The sections in this book stretch over an eight-month period. Eight or
nine months of summer is the very least I promise myself a year. I like to
work in the sun, play in the sun, make love in it and waste time in the
sun. Though I am aware by doing so I miss the subtleties of the seasons,
the colors of Vermont Septembers, the surprises of Nebraska Springs, all
my life Iíve chased the sun.
Seasons in the Sun began as a short story. My first. Unpublished, it
concerns a man who is dying and recounts his life figuratively and
actually as one where all the highlights took place within some sunshiny
More than a dozen years ago, I brought home from France an album
containing Jacques Brelís Le Moribond (the dying man). Although the song
had nothing to do with the sun, per se, it seemed to me that Jacquesí
lyric - though in another language - talked about the man in my story, so
I began to fuse his lyric with my short story and what emerged was an
Anglo-American song entitled Seasons in the Sun. The title now seems like
a good one for a collection of sun poems.
I have talked lengthily about my collaborations with Brel elsewhere, and
will do so at greater length if I ever get around to writing an
autobiography. Each of us has in common a sense of being loners though we
have both taken the sea and the sun as mistresses, if not wives.
This collection of poems has many sources - a dozen books, stanzas from
nineteen songs, new poetry, and always the sun, threading itís way through
the individual works. Both the poems and the songs were written over a
twenty-year span, beginning with And Autumn Came, published in 1954, and
including a selection from Moment to Moment to be published in September
of 1974, plus the aforementioned new material and poems written through
the years that have remained unpublished till now.
When someone asks me how long it took to write a particular poem I ask
what year it was published, and even if I used up only twenty minutes to
commit the words to paper I add the life Iíve lived to the point of
publication, and give that as my answer.
My poems of ten years ago are different from the ones I write today. The
work I do tomorrow will be miles apart from that done yesterday. My
seasons in the sun ahead are not as many as they could be. Nonetheless,
they will be lived out fully - as full as I know how to make them.
Tres Vidas, Mexico,
Before I forget it I want to
recommend HBOís new series ďBand of Brothers.Ē I caught the early feed of
the first two hours of it yesterday afternoon and itís a beautifully
mounted, well acted and deeply moving saga that unless you have been
trapped in a well somewhere youíve already heard about.
ďBand of BrothersĒ lives up to
all the advance hype and glowing reviews it has received. Iím looking
forward to watching the next eight episodes and in case you missed
yesterdayís premier HBO has scheduled repeats Tuesday, Wednesday and
Friday of this week. Even if you arenít a World War II buff this is a very
human drama worth watching about one of the most important events of the
Fittingly, Iím off to the studio again where Iíll be working on two more
ďSongs That Won the WarĒ albums. ďBand of BrothersĒ certainly adds to the
inspiration for doing so.
Details of Rod's next
appearance can be obtained by following the link below.
Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman