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Rod McKuen
(April 29, 1933 – January 29, 2015) U.S.A.

Rod McKuen

Poet and songwriter


Rodney Marvin "Rod" McKuen was born in a Salvation Army hostel in Oakland, California. He never knew his biological father who had left his mother. Sexually and physically abused by relatives, raised by his mother and stepfather, who was a violent alcoholic, McKuen ran away from home at the age of 11. He drifted along the West Coast, supporting himself as a ranch hand, surveyor, railroad worker, lumberjack, rodeo cowboy, stuntman, and radio disc jockey, always sending money home to his mother.

Popular author of sentimental poems and songs, native and resident in California. His books include Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows (1966), Listen to the Warm (1967), Come to Me in Silence (1973), and Looking for a Friend (1980). Finding My Father (1976) is a prose account of his quest for his unknown father.

McKuen refused to identify as gay, straight, or bisexual, but once explained his sexuality saying, "I can't imagine choosing one sex over the other, that's just too limiting. I can't even honestly say I have a preference." He was active in the LGBT rights movement, and as early as the 1950s, was a key member of the San Francisco chapter of the Mattachine Society, one of the nation's earliest LGBT advocacy organizations. He often gave benefit performances to aid LGBT rights organizations and to fund AIDS research He died of respiratory arrest, a result of pneumonia, at a hospital in Beverly Hills, California.


Slide... easy inSLIDE... EASY IN
(from an interview)

"Some of the tracks in the album are slightly embarrassing now, but certainly none of the satirical ones, nor the concept itself which was to send up the disco (put a disco beat behind it and it will sell) movement. The album and the single from it Amor made the charts all over Europe and in France, Holland and Germany Amor stayed number one for many weeks. The Europeans paid no attention to the satire, they went for it in a big way because of its disco danceability. That's more a tribute to engineer Bob Kovack and co-producer Wade Alexander than to my disco crooning.

In the US the send up of the disco divas and devos certainly wasn't lost on the Gay community. It didn't hurt that it contained Don't Drink The Orange Juice, a paean I directed to Anita Bryant who was carrying on a heated campaign against Gay Rights in Florida while being that state's Orange Juice spokesperson. Full Moon Over The Ansonia Hotel was pretty outrageous too, as was Easy In. But the initial attraction had to be the cover shot of iron icon Bruno's mighty fist full of Crisco coming out of a renamed Disco can. That was my idea and it worked.

Slide... Easy In found its way to Europe in the first place courtesy of a DJ who visited Fire Island & took the album home to Paris. Oddly enough the original cover was considered too outrageous for Europe's audiences and a shapely blonde models derriere clad in silver lame hot pants with a stars and stripes belt, was substituted for a 'fist full of Bruno.' And it was retitled Amor, Amor after the hit single. In the US the album is a major collectors item and is known as The Crisco Disco Album. Don't look for it to make its way to CD anytime soon, I have fatter fish to fry."



You turn a corner and things change.
Like wrinkles changing into dimples
and nighttime changing into day.
And love changing back again
to whatever it was before it came.

Let it be.
It is a kind of something
we don't know much about
like Pere Noel or magic.
Don't even dwell on the good times-
they only make you think.

I went back to look for you.
Not understanding the language of hello,
I thought I'd speak it just the same.

I bathed,
left the window open
and one light on.
The heat was off
and as we warmed each other
I knew that you'd make up
for all those dark indifferent backs
that turned from me these many months.

Rod McKuenThe room sat waiting,
premeditated as a concierge's smile.

In the lobby
there were some roses on a table.
I looked at them so long
I thought the buds had drained
the color from my face.
Finally I went up the stairs
to bed alone.

I've drawn your face
on tablecloths across the country,
tracing your smile
with my index finger,
making your hair just so,
till now you're more
what I want you to be
than what you are.

I can paint your eyes and say
this is where I lived
for twenty minutes and more.

I order grapefruit
and pay for ruined napkins.
And between the morning and the evening
I draw your face a little fainter every day.

(from Lonesome Cities, 1967)
© 1967, 1982, 1999 by Stanyan Music Group & Rod McKuen. All Rights Reserved


Source: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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