Wednesday 1st November, 2006

 

 

 

 

 

Details of Rod at The Luckman in November - click here

 

 

 

 

 

A Thought for Today

Common sense sees the visible; imagination goes beyond.

 

This One Does It For Me!

Hi Ken,

I don't seem to get to listen to my music much anymore except in the car and of course most of my selections are Rod's songs. A week or so ago I was listening and the song about Lovers of the Heart was on ( I'm not sure if that's the name or just part of the lyrics). Anyway I got to my destination and the song wasn't finished so I just sat there until it was and that started me to thinking about why I do that all the time. Then I realized I don't do that with everybody's music so why his?

You know me, I have to sit and figure out why I do something and I now know it's because his songs are like stories and I can't stop them till the end of the story even if I've heard it a hundred times. I was going to write this letter several weeks ago and just didn't sit down to do it and then yesterday, I think it was, Rod said something about his poems/ songs were like stories. So I guess I still have not had an original thought about this or any other subject but anyway I would like the lyrics printed some Wednesday about the Lovers of the Heart because it is a great song and if I'm late for an appointment I will still sit and let that one finish playing and probably most any other of his.

He and his work have been a big part of my life since my 30s and I'm 75 now and he is still the top of my listening list.

Have a great day Ken. God bless you and yours. And of course Rod too.

Love

Dolores

Terrific choice, Dolores, and the first time (I think) this particular song has been featured on a Wednesday.

This song was also responsible for bringing Rod and Jacques Brel together as Rod explains in the following piece.

REMEMBERING JACQUES BREL 

I first met Jacques in 1964, but I was into his performing and singing long before that, courtesy of Ellen Ehrlich, who used to interpret his songs for me before I began to translate them myself. My first experience with Brel consisted of doing an unauthorized adaptation of Le Moribund, which I called Seasons in the Sun. Ellen, unbeknownst to me, sent it to Jacques.

While in France that summer of '64, I went to visit a friend, Philippe Boutet, who published some of my songs in translation for Europe. During the course of a very pleasant afternoon, I asked him if he had any new songs I might adapt for America. He said yes, that he did have one that was fairly new. It had been written by Jacques Brel for the singer Jean Sablon. He then proceeded to play for me a very rough dub of the song. As I listened, I couldn't help feeling I'd heard the song somewhere before, and it was only toward the end of the piece that I realized it was my own song, The Lovers.

Somewhat astounded, I pointed this out to Philippe, who said it couldn't be. He went to the phone and called Jacques in Brussels. Jacques confirmed that it was indeed my song and that he had no way to send me a copy of it.

I subsequently learned that Brel had received my recording of "Seasons in the Sun " (I liked it so much it became the title of an album. The album not only contained my adaptation of "Seasons" but The Lovers as well) after returning from a long and tiring tour of France. He remarked that he had been so pleased by someone doing something for him without requesting and expecting anything that he immediately returned the compliment by adapting The Lovers into French. Thus it became Les Amant de Cour (The Lovers of the Heart.)

Brel allowed as how he was coming to Paris to see his dentist, and could I stay over? Obviously I could and did. From that meeting has grown a continuing friendship.

Based on the notes from Rod McKuen Sings Rod McKuen, Jacques Brel Songbook, April 1971, January,1992 with new material, April 2000.

 - first publication in the Flight Plan 4/8/2000

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Rod's random thoughts Men fear thought above all else, but only thinking sets us free.

The planets keep exact time in their revolutions, why cant we keep appointments?

Loss is something to be gotten over in preparation for the gains upcoming. 

THE LOVERS

Up from the pastures of boredom
out from the sea of discontent
they come in packs like hungry hounds
the seekers of the dark enchantment.

They haunt the boulevards and bars
they pray to wishing wells and stars
they ride the hurricane of hope
not looking back but on they go
toward the distance and deceiving
all the while they keep believing
they are special and apart
the lovers, the lovers of the heart... the lovers.

And when they pair off two by two
they feel they are the chosen few
though their beds are made of straw
they feel like velvet in the night
so the night is never ending
its made of distance and pretending
they are special and apart
the lovers, lovers of the heart... the lovers.

And when love goes away
and when goes...
goodbye...
catches in their throats like cotton
rises in their hearts like rain
good times suddenly are all forgotten
the hunt begins again.

They search the subways and the street
their faces tired, like their feet
their bodies aching to be warm
so they hide behind the moon
the loneliness inside them growing
they take comfort in just knowing
they are special and apart
the lovers, lovers of the heart... the lovers.

And when love comes again
and when love comes
hello...
rises from their throats like singing
comes up from their hearts like wind
the good things
strangers in their arms are bringing
makes life all right again.

They turn their faces to the light
no longer hiding in the night
so unashamed and unafraid
they can face each others faults
though the waltz will have its ending
there is no harm in just pretending
they are special and apart
the lovers, lovers of the heart... the lovers.

 - from Rod McKuen's Greatest Hits (Warner Bros)

 
    AND FINALLY

More next week so please make sure you join me then. Meantime if you have a favorite McKuen song, poem or story you'd like to share, or a question you need answered, drop me a line, kenb@mckuen.com and I'll do the rest.

-Ken, Johannesburg, South Africa, November 1

 
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