Happy 84th Birthday Rod McKuen

Today is the 84th birthday of the poet Rod McKuen. Anna Cottage requested we celebrate his life and I am more than happy to oblige. He was prolific. His words are part of the American cultural collective. The world is a better place because he was in it and still feels the loss that he has left.

NAME: Rod McKuen
DATE OF BIRTH: April 29, 1933
DATE OF DEATH: January 29, 2015
PLACE OF DEATH: Beverley Hills, CA

BEST KNOWN FOR: Rodney Marvin “Rod” McKuen was an American singer-songwriter, musician and poet. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s.

Rodney Marvin McKuen was born at the Salvation Army hostel in Oakland, California, and raised by his alcoholic mother and a stepfather. He ran away at 11 and traveled the West Coast, supporting himself as a ranch hand, surveyor, railroad worker, lumberjack, rodeo cowboy, stuntman, and radio disk jockey, always sending money home to his mother. He kept a journal which became the material he used to perform folksongs and sing in nightclubs. In the early 1950s, he read with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg in San Francisco. He briefly tried acting in Los Angeles and lived in France and New York City in the 1960s before returning to California.

McKuen’s poetry gained prominence in the 1960s. It is not often the subject of academic inquiry, but loyal readers have identified with McKuen’s sentiments and wisdom. His poetry is known for its expressions of love, optimism, and heartfelt longing. His website proclaims, “It doesn’t matter who you love, or how you love, but that you love.” In 1976, he published Finding My Father, a memoir about his search for his biological father. McKuen received the Brandeis University Literary Trust Prize and the Carl Sandburg Award; his poetry collection The Power Bright and Shining (1980) won the First Amendment and Freedoms Foundation Award.

As a composer and performer, McKuen recorded numerous gold and platinum records. His 1968 album, Lonesome Cities, earned a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Recording. Dusty Springfield, Johnny Mathis, and the London Philharmonic, among others; Madonna sampled his work, and Frank Sinatra commissioned an entire album of songs for his release A Man Alone. McKuen collaborated with Anita Kerr and the San Sebastian Strings on 16 albums. His film compositions have been nominated for two Academy Awards.

A past president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Child Abuse, McKuen performed benefit concerts to support a variety of charities. He died in early 2015.

Wild Heritage (Aug-1958) · Dirk Breslin
Summer Love (10-Mar-1958)
Rock, Pretty Baby (Dec-1956)

Source: Rod McKuen

Source: Rod McKuen – Biography

Source: Rod McKuen – Wikipedia

Source: Rod McKuen | Poetry Foundation

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  1. Thank you, thank you I am so shocked and grateful that you have done this, I know I requested it but felt with all you have to do it would not happen and here we are. Many thanks to you. Rod McKuen was an unique Man a sweet gentle soul. Rod is still the biggest selling Poet in History, and I know in my Country Rod should be recognised for helping to bring in the Right for people who were adopted to see the name of the real Parents, he was asked by the then British government to help and he did. Rod was a gentleman in every sense of the word. Everything he achieved he did himself, he rose from poverty from beatings by his step Father. As an innocent little 7 year old boy his trust in his Uncle was shattered when the Uncle Raped Rod, his scars went deep, yet he was such an unique man.

    My appreciation to you for remembering Rod McKuen on this his Birthday.

    If you don’t mind I would like to reblog this. THANK YOU AGAIN.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Anna Cottage and commented:
    This is always a great blog, but today it is even more special and I thank all concerned for what they have done, listening to my request, for which I am so grateful. Please read the blog, thank you.


    1. Rod McKuen was a very special man his love of life, nature, God he shared it all. Those of us who followed him or brought his books or records or just listened to him we were able to relate. He was a Loner so many of us that followed were Loners but with Rod we all felt special and close to him. He taught so many to write, I would not have picked up my pen and Diary and wrote every day, or now write as I do had it not been for him. I am glad some memories were brought back to you and I hope you will start to re read his books and play his music, Rod McKuen was SPECIAL.

      Liked by 1 person

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