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A Thought for Today

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Hi Ken,

Years ago, when we were all much younger, a line from one of Rod's songs became my catch phrase. This was "...I'll think of you this morning when I shave".

I remember loving this song but now, all this time later, I can't think of the name of the song or the rest of the words.

Can you help?


Sure can, Alaister. The song is "I Looked at You a Long Time" from the album "New Ballads", one of my all time favorite McKuen albums.

I recently threw fiscal caution to the winds by purchasing a CD-Writer and the very first vinyl album I converted to CD was "New Ballads". (My instructor in this often bewildering process was Eric Yeager who has to be the most patient tutor around. Thanks, Eric!)

It turns out this particular album wasn't such an inspired choice for my first vinyl conversion after all. Literally hours after I completed the job Rod gleefully announced the CD release of "New Ballads" and "The Beautiful Strangers" scheduled to be available early in 2002. You can be sure the final release date will be announced right here on ASPTL as soon as it is to hand.

Writing about this song in a Flight Plan a couple of years ago, Rod has this to say about one particular line:

"I will say this much, the reason "I stole the Sunday paper", (as quoted in the song), is because it contained an unfavorable review of one of my books. Ego rises. The last thing I wanted my new beloved to see was something negative about me. How’s that for leaving you with something to ponder?"

From such tales are memorable lyrics born.

Thanks for your letter, Alaister, and don't forget to check back here regularly for the release date of "New Ballads".

How about your favorite McKuen song or poem? Want to share it with us? Drop me a line at and I'll do the rest.

 - Ken, Johannesburg, October 17

Details of Rod's next appearance can be obtained by following the link below.

"Tap Your Troubles Away" - the music of Jerry Herman

notable birthdays Jean Arthur o Jimmy Breslin o Sam Bottoms o Spring Byington o Montgomery Clift o Cozy Cole o Eminem o Beverly Garland o Rita Hayworth o Marsha Hunt o Alan Jackson o Barney Kessel o Margot Kidder o Chris Kirkpatrick o Evel Knievel o Norm MacDonald o Arthur Miller o Pope John Paul I o Tom Poston o Gary Puckett o Howard Rollins o Irene Ryan o George Wendt
Rod's random thoughts Let God do his work. Stop calling on him every time you’re in trouble, he’ll be there when you need him.

Character is everything; don’t let anyone undermine yours.

The appearance of reality is not quite as good as reality itself.


And I looked at you a long time
before I left
thinking how beautiful you sleep
and so I wouldn’t waken you
I dressed in the darkness
and covered you against the morning

And I looked at you a long time
before I left
and once more before I turned to go
I turned back again
to be sure I could remember
you doubled up in drunken darkness.

And I wrote a note and left it on
your mirror
I said I’ll think of you this morning
when I shave.

And going down the driveway
grumpy with love
I stole your Sunday paper.

And I looked at you a long time
before I left
and I paused on each and every stair
knowing I might never climb that
stairway again
I looked at you a long time.
Now every time I shave
I find myself seeing you again.

                                - from "New Ballads", 1970

© 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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