Friday, February 6, 2015

Top 10 Remembering Rod McKuen

Rod McKuen (April 29, 1933 – January 29, 2015) he was 81.
Most known as a poet but you may also recognize his words in these songs you can find on YouTube.

1. Ballad of a Sad Young Man sung by Roberta Flack words by Rod McKuen.

2. Love's Been Good To Me Bobby Sherman sings lyrics by Rod McKuen. ( a lot of people sang this song but Bobby Sherman is a blast, remember him from Here Comes the Brides.

3.  Jean sung by Oliver words by Rod McKuen

4. I Never Go There Anymore Rod McKuen

5. Linda Ronstadt - Long Long Time words by Rod McKuen

6. Kurt Cobain singing "Seasons in the Sun" words by Rod McKuen

7. Neil Diamond If You Go Away  words by Rod McKuen based on Belgian singer-songwriter Jacques Brel's "Ne me quitte pas" song by Sting at this YouTube link.

8. I Think Of You Perry Como

9. Sinatra a man alone is an entire album of words and music by Rod McKuen this is a link to Night. I like the words like a woman follows you..when she wants something.

10. What a Wonderful World sung by Rod McKuen. Rod McKuen did not write this song but lets hope he knows he made the world a better place for a lot of people who found solace in his words.

This is the short list. More about Rod McKuen at

 I did not know Rod McKuen personally but I knew his words personally. I don't remember how I came across Rod McKuen's poetry maybe he found me, I thank him for my time with his collection of poems in Alone, one of my tools to survival through the early 80's. There is a reason his book remains in my collection, it's a keeper. We also share a love of the sea.

Where the Big Boys Play

One day a man will take you
               on the high roads;
After a time
              he'll leave you
              someplace nice
or tell you where
the big boys play.
They usually string out
                        their games
       in someone's shadow.

It could be yours.
More likely mine,
for mine's grown longer
and there's more room here.

I ache to learn
some new game's now,
I've been away
from town too long,
To see a new open door
I'd go almost anywhere,
Even backward,
if I thought
              I had the time.

I'm mad at midnight
for the things
            it didn't do,
that doesn't mean
I wouldn't take
a chance again.

Few angels
have been heard to sing
but many purr
when stroked just so.

Lie down and leave
your imprint in the sand
my hand will trace it
into everything I need.
That's how reality begins,
shadows made something real
or reality turned back into a

I need the sureness
of the shadow world again.
To make me whole.

If I am anything at all
I'm what I've gotten
                      out of the sand.
Not only that washed in
        from seas and islands
but any piece of earth
        (however small)
a man can hold
securely in his hand.

Catch me in the sunlight.
Catch me pacing
                     past the trees.
Build a fence around me
the moment that you
                    see me running.
I'm so elusive sometimes
I miss the things
worth stopping for.

I need
Not more trees.
Not more rain
in backyards and barrels
or racing down the gutters
                to the drain.

I need the comfort
of a friendly back or belly.
Seen sometimes in magazines
or made up in my mind.

You know the ones I mean.
They shout out at you
like the trees in April.
Or blossom on you
like strawberry smiles.

I have been assaulted
by soft smiles
           at a distance.
Thy way some radios
                        attack you
from across the room
when you're strapped up
       in the barber chair.
They way you're raped
by Muzak in an elevator.

Now comes the time
for closeness once again.
Turn me over gently.
Hold me for the man I am.
Smooth out the wrinkles
                             on my face
And love me  - please
Because I need.

The big boys play
in someone's shadow
               down the street
and I'm detached.

That's as it should be,
for I need more than games.

Take a chance on me.
 I haven't any name
but what you'll give me
                       when you leave.

From Alone....Rod McKuen 

10 Things I didn't know about Rod McKuen
McKuen ran away from home at the age of 11. He was abused by his alcoholic step father.

Awards: Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album (1968) Lonseome Cities· Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture (1970), Jean The Prime of  Miss Jean Brodie

Academy Award nominations (1970) for "Jean" from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie the winner that year was Raindrops Keep Fallin On My Head.and was nominated in 1971 for A Boy Named Charlie Brown.  Let It Be won that year.

In 1981, McKuen retired from live performances. The following year, he was diagnosed with clinical depression, which he battled for much of the next decade. These were the years I found comfort in his words. It is strange how that happens. 

He worked for a surveying unit, as a cowhand, lumberjack, ditch digger, railroad worker, and finally rodeo cowboy before becoming a poet, according to his website

McKuen is past president of The National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse. While speaking at a meeting of the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse in 1982, McKuen told a packed room of 600 people how he was sexually molested by an aunt and uncle when he was seven years old. He advises victimized children to "tell somebody immediately".

For the past 19 years, he has been the president of the American Guild of Variety Artists, a post he has held longer than any other man or woman elected to the position.

It mentions on his website, McKuen has been an avid music and record collector and is considered by many to have one of the world's largest private record collections. He wrote over 1,500 songs.

Rod McKuen  "A Safe Place To Land" has been online since 1998.

His website Flight Plan is still being maintained. He wrote Finding My Father, a search for his biological father.

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