Prolific Poet/Songwriter Rod McKeun Leaves Behind Large Body Of Work

Posted by Billyjam, January 30, 2015 07:34am | Post a Comment

In honor of Oakland, CA born American poet/spoken word artist/songwriter Rod McKuen, who died yesterday at age 81 following weeks of been treated for pneumonia, I go digging at Amoeba Music for a sampling of the world's best selling poet's body of work.  Ever prolific, especially from the late sixties up until the beginning of the 80's when he took an extended sabbatical, McKuen was once a ubiquitous and seemingly unstoppable part of American popular culture.

As such the distinctively throaty sounding artist released an incredible number of albums (over 200 LPs of which many are still available at Amoeba - mostly in original vinyl format), wrote hundreds upon hundreds of poems, published dozens of books that would sell over sixty million copies (hence why he was the best selling poet ever), and a slew of songs that would be covered/interpreted by such high profile stars as Dolly Parton (they even collaborated in a music and poetry duo on the song "Feelings"), and Frank Sinatra ("Night," "If You Go Away" which was written with the Belgian composer Jacques Brel). In fact Ole Blue Eyes, who was a major fan of his work, even commissioned McKuen to pen content for A Man Alone: The Words and Music of Rod McKuen.

Among his many well known poems/song interpretations are ''If You Go Away," "Jean" (from "The Prime of Mis Jean Brodie"),  and "Seasons In the Sun" (a huge pop hit for Terry Jacks in 1972) - videos for which appear below. Meanwhile if you go digging in the spoken word or easy listening vinyl sections of Amoeba and you will find many of those 200 albums he released over the years. They include 1972's Odyssey, 1974's Love Songs, 1980's Turntable, 1967's The Love Movement and Listen To The Warm,  and 1981's Global.

Rod McKeun "Jean" (live on the Johnny Cash Show, 1970)

Shirley Bassey "If You Go Away" (with intro by Rod McKuen)

Terry Jacks "Seasons In The Sun"

Relevant Tags

Rod Mckeun (1), Oakland (90), Poet (2), Poetry (14), Dolly Parton (20), Frank Sinatra (15), Terry Jacks (1)