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Rod McKuen

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Rodney Marvin “Rod” McKuen (April 29, 1933 - January 29, 2015) was a best-selling American poet, composer, and singer, instrumental in the revitalization of popular poetry that took place in the 1960s and early 1970s.

Born in Oakland, California, McKuen ran away from home at the age of eleven to escape an alcoholic stepfather and to send what money he could to his mother. After a series of jobs, from lumberjack, ranch hand, railroad worker to rodeo cowboy, throughout the west, McKuen began in the 1950s to excite audiences with his poetry readings, appearing with such well-known poets as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg; during this time, he often used the pseudonym “Dor”. He moved to New York City in 1959 to compose and conduct for the TV show “The CBS Workshop.” By the 1960s he had achieved fame, far surpassing in sales the works of the Beat poets who preceded him. During the early 1960s he spent most of his time in France. This began his project to translate the work of legendary singer/songwriter Jacques Brel, into English.

He became an icon across college campuses for his ability to capture in verse the feelings of anxiety, love, confusion, and hope that were common during the Vietnam era. His public readings had the drawing power of a rock concert.

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  • garynotrashcoug

    R.I.P. I only recently became aware of you through Aaron Freeman's Marvelous Clouds LP. I hope to discover more of your work in the future.

    1 Mar 7:23am Reply
  • KeithJones

    RIP

    30 Jan 1:38pm Reply
  • chewtoy

    R.I.P. Rod

    30 Jan 4:08am Reply
  • Nakkinak

    Fucking terrible Brel translater, he did not understand Brel's chansons. If You Go Away and Seasons in the Sun are prime example of watering down masterful and richly filled lyrics, tunring them into trivial bullshit.

    21 Dec 2012 Reply
  • agua-salgada

    I'm having problems to download /find the album "In Search of Eros". Is there anyone with the possibility to zip me? And any other albums. Send me a message.

    5 Oct 2011 Reply
  • BurningFortress

    Someone please help me... Where can I get his spoken word albums? Please message me. Thank you!

    8 Jun 2011 Reply
  • RUIuiuiuiui

    i love "The Lovers" song, both original and Arctic Monkeys' cover, you guys should check it out

    27 Sep 2010 Reply
  • rafcosford

    What makes a song great?, words & delivery. The great artists have it in spades! This is one of the great deliverers of a song, whether his own or someone else's

    13 Dec 2008 Reply
  • bonnieblu

    glenn yarbrough covers rod's music so well...his song "the women" is beautiful ,,as is "each of us alone",,,

    13 Dec 2008 Reply
  • lollinoutloud

    I wish there was some service where you could give Rod McKuen some words to say out loud, maybe over some soft music, for a medium-to-large-sized payment.

    3 Jul 2008 Reply
  • patrick2040

    this is so not at all post-punk. Feel the warm.

    26 Aug 2006 Reply

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