|I've wanted to write this album for a long
time. It seems like always. I remember trying several years ago in New York, then
abandoning it when something else came up. In 1963 a trunk I had shipped from Naples to
the island of Hydra was lost and with it notes I had made on a "Sea" album. And,
more recently, a composer arranger and a friend I had interested in "The Sea"
waltzed off together to create their own such project. No matter. That lost, abandoned, or
stolen Sea means nothing now. The words here are the ones I have lived with for the past
several weeks, and they remain for me important.
don't believe a man can write about the sea and not include himself. Much of me is here
and I have used the sea as a platform to speak about the times and the seasons and
people's relationships to one another. Most of all, I've used the sea to write about
Psychologists equate Man's love for the sea with
mother-love. No wonder so many sun-tanned young men and women look out at us from
magazines and tele vision, selling beer and cigarettes from docks and sailboats!
In December of last year I approached the gifted Anita Kerr
to write the music for this album. I would write the words. She agreed and we went to
Warner Bros. to see what their interest might be in recording and releasing it. They were
high enough on the idea to give us the nearly $10,000 it would take in recording costs
We began to work. I sketched out thoughts on what the music
should say and the beginnings of poems that we might use. With this guideline, Anita wrote
and arranged the music in two weeks over the Christmas holidays.
At the recording session, I heard her music for the first
time. I felt it was unbelievably good and threw out everything I had written up until
then. Three days later I had new words to fit the mood she had created.
The sea effects we chose are from Warner Bros. Pictures
sound department and a dozen other sources. We must have gone through hundreds to find
what we felt was right. Did you know the surf off the coast of Maine sounds unlike that at
The voice belongs to a good friend. The name doesn't
matter. It is more important that it is someone you might like to know, or someone you
might like to have say to you the things that are being said here.
I have made love and thought myself a lover by the sea.
Caught cold from it. Nearly drowned in it once or twice and walked alone by it more often
than I care to remember. I've known the seas off San Francisco and San Sebastian, Capri
and Catalina, Mauntak and Majorca, Mexico and the North Atlantic, and I've loved them all.
How much fun it was to write about the sea! How much fun it will be to write about it
again. I am indebted to many people for the chance. Mostly Anita Kerr.
Anita thinks like a man. Maybe because she is writing music
in a man's world. But, she is as feminine as a rose. I have never seen her terrify her
husband with tears or whip her musicians with words, still she commands the respect and
love of both. Writer Stan Cornyn calls her the "Indira Ghandi" of the music
world. She is that. And she is gentle, warm, and unbelievably pretty - like the music she
It is marvellous to know that I am not too young anymore
(and not very old either) and that I'll be writing songs with Anita Kerr for a long, long
time to come. I cross streets more carefully now.
Rod McKuen, January 1967