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Christmas Eve 2001: Photo by Edward McKuen. ©2001 Stanyan Entertainment Group

A Thought for Today

A gift accepted has no strings.


#2 “One By One”


I wrote “One By One" in Hollywood in the summer of 1962 and later performed it on Jimmie Rodgers’ Los Angeles TV series. I’ve always wanted to make it part of a children’s album. Jimmie, Barry McGuire, The Womenfolk & Glenn Yarbrough all made recordings of it. It’s one of those good-time songs I enjoy singing in concerts where the audience joins in on the chorus. Arranger Ian Freebarin-Smith’s use of the French horn choir on this chart betrays his classical background.

This was part of my first album for Capitol (released in 1964 as “Rod McKuen sings Rod McKuen”) and it was pretty folksy in nature. “Ally, Ally Oxen Free,” “Good for Nothin’ Bill” and “Someplace Green" were also recorded on this date. The session took place at the Capitol Tower in Hollywood on January 17, 1965. It was conducted by Perry Botkin Jr. and features The Good Time Singers. The producer was Kermit Walter.

The following year I recorded “One By One” in French in Paris. It was a thrill to work with the renowned Swingle Singers for the first time. That arrangement was a bit more progressive & was written by Roland Vincent. Michel Legrand came to visit me on the recording date. His sister, Christine, was one of the Swingles & contracted the musicians.


One By One

Let’s count the times we remember, One By One
Each June, July and September, One By One
Some special day, some special time
Some special spring or summertime,
One By One, One By One, One By One.

There was a time we walked together two by two
In sunny days or chilly weather, two by two
So far away, so long ago
Where did our golden moments go?
One By One, One By One, One by One.

Love comes and goes like the seasons four by four
There are no rhymes and no reasons four by four
It stayed a while, just like your smile
Then went away like the seasons, One By One
One By One, One By One, One By One.

Let’s count the times we remember, One By One
Each June, July and September, One By One
Some special day, some special time
Some special spring or summertime,
One By One, One By One, One By One.

Words & music by Rod McKuen © 1963, 1964 by Rod McKuen & Stanyan Music Co.


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As the year draws to a close I'd like to say a very big THANK YOU to Rod for what has been a remarkable twelve months.

Back in January I wasn't too sure what direction the year would take and thought the most we could hope for was a couple of new album releases on CD. Just how wrong I was is best illustrated by the following list of 2001 McKuen accomplishments:

* the release of a brand new double CD Greatest Hits collection

* the release of the much anticipated new book, "A Safe Place To Land" (which turned out to be so much more than just a book)

* not one but THREE highly successful concerts

* innumerable other appearances for various causes throughout America

Add to the above working on a number of other album projects, contributing to this web site on a daily basis as well as trying to carve out some quality time for himself and loved ones, and you'll see why I say it's been a remarkable, though busy, year for Mr. McKuen.

Two concerts are already confirmed for 2002 and there's no doubt in my mind there'll be more. There's a new book on the horizon and, of course, none of us can wait until 2003 and the planned return to Carnegie Hall. So much to look forward to.

Thanks, Rod.

Also, a huge thank you to the people behind the scenes who contributed in no small way to the success of this year. Edward, Wade, Michael, Jerry, Steve, Susan, Linda and a host of others I probably don't even know about all played a major role in helping make things happen this year and everyone who attended a concert, read the book or played a new CD is immensely grateful to all of you.

Finally, a personal thank you to all who stop by this web site on a regular basis. Without you, Rod and I would be rattling around in a pretty lonely cyberspace, not having nearly as much fun as we've had the past couple of years. That most of you are still with us means we're doing something right and I hope we can continue for a long time to come.

Happy New Year to all and I'll see you in 2002.

 - Ken, Johannesburg, December 26

notable birthdays


Steve Allen o Charles Babbage o Helen Brann o George Dewey o Carlton Fisk o Thomas Gray o Joyce Jillson o Alan King o Jared Leto o Doris Lilly o Henry Miller o Donald Moffat o Ozzie Smith o Phil Spector o Mao Tse-tung o Lars Ulrich o Maurice Utrillo o Tahnee Welch o Richard Widmark o Rosemary Woods

Rod's random thoughts Religion is the upper window of the soul.

Respect is the key that opens every door.

Service is a privilege.


May your life
be full for Christmas
this year and the next year too.
May the star that shines above us
always be there just for you.

And may your life
be bright and jolly.
Even when there is
no holy wreath to decorate the door
may the Christ of Christmas
help us love each other more.

May your hand be full for always
if only with another hand.
May your heart be empty only
long enough to give you cause
to fill it up again with love.

May your soul be lost to you
only to be found by God.

                                - from "An Outstretched Hand", 1980

© 1970, 1980, 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 o Sound & Fury Dr. Eric Yeager o Webmaster Ken Blackie
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