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.
One Does It For Me!
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
Terrific choice, Dolores,
and the first time (I think) this particular song has been featured on a
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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