Rod McKuen quotes

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Rod McKuen

Birthdate: 29. April 1933
Date of death: 29. January 2015

Rodney Marvin McKuen was an American poet, singer-songwriter, and actor. He was one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career, McKuen produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks and classical music. He earned two Academy Award nominations and one Pulitzer nomination for his music compositions. McKuen's translations and adaptations of the songs of Jacques Brel were instrumental in bringing the Belgian songwriter to prominence in the English-speaking world. His poetry deals with themes of love, the natural world and spirituality. McKuen's songs sold over 100 million recordings worldwide, and 60 million books of his poetry were sold as well. Wikipedia

„If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail
To be born once again
Then with nothing at all
But the little we are
We'll have conquered all time
All space, the sun, and the stars.“

—  Rod McKuen

As closing scene in the 1968 musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975 film version) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdSXpC8fbNA
Translations and adaptations, If We Only Have Love (1968)
Context: If we only have love
We will never bow down
We'll be tall as the pines
Neither heroes nor clowns.
If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail
To be born once again
Then with nothing at all
But the little we are
We'll have conquered all time
All space, the sun, and the stars.

„Adieu, Francoise, my trusted wife;
Without you I'd have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then,
I forgave you in the end
Though your lover was my friend. Adieu, Francoise, it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky.“

—  Rod McKuen

Seasons in the Sun" (1961), as translated from the Jacques Brel song "Le Moribond"·  McKuen performance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MY__eaedtOA ·  Beach Boys performance http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fzjIra9pheU
Goodbye, Michelle, my little one;
You gave me love and helped me find the sun,
And every time that I was down
You would always come around
And get my feet back on the ground. <p> Goodbye, Michelle, it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky;
Now that the spring is in the air,
With the flowers everywhere,
I wish that we could both be there!
As adapted in the Terry Jacks version (1974)
Translations and adaptations
Context: Adieu, Francoise, my trusted wife;
Without you I'd have had a lonely life.
You cheated lots of times but then,
I forgave you in the end
Though your lover was my friend. Adieu, Francoise, it's hard to die
When all the birds are singing in the sky.
Now that spring is in the air
With your lovers ev'rywhere,
Just be careful; I'll be there.

„So… like laughing children we’ll go
singing love wherever we go.“

—  Rod McKuen

"Only Love" by Jacques Brel as translated on the album After Midnight (1988)
Translations and adaptations
Context: We have only love,
to help us find our way,
as we go out into the world.
So... like laughing children we’ll go
singing love wherever we go.

„As friends and as musical collaborators we had traveled, toured and written — together and apart — the events of our lives as if they were songs, and I guess they were. When news of Jacques’ death came I stayed locked in my bedroom and drank for a week.“

—  Rod McKuen

On Jacques Brel, in liner notes for Greatest Hits - Without a Worry in the World (August 1992)
Context: As friends and as musical collaborators we had traveled, toured and written — together and apart — the events of our lives as if they were songs, and I guess they were. When news of Jacques’ death came I stayed locked in my bedroom and drank for a week. That kind of self pity was something he wouldn’t have approved of, but all I could do was replay our songs (our children) and ruminate over our unfinished life together.

„We have only love,
to offer as a prayer,
for all the wrongs in the world.
So… like singing troubadours we’ll go,
singing love wherever we go.“

—  Rod McKuen

"Only Love" by Jacques Brel as translated on the album After Midnight (1988)
Translations and adaptations

„Till the sheep in the valley come home my way
Till the stars fall around me and find me alone
When the sun comes a-singin' I'll still be waitin'“

—  Rod McKuen

Music to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1968)
Context: Till the sheep in the valley come home my way
Till the stars fall around me and find me alone
When the sun comes a-singin' I'll still be waitin' For Jean, Jean, roses are red
And all of the leaves have gone green
While the hills are ablaze with the moon's yellow haze
Come into my arms, bonnie Jean.

„While the hills are ablaze with the moon's yellow haze
Come into my arms, bonnie Jean.“

—  Rod McKuen

Music to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1968)
Context: Till the sheep in the valley come home my way
Till the stars fall around me and find me alone
When the sun comes a-singin' I'll still be waitin' For Jean, Jean, roses are red
And all of the leaves have gone green
While the hills are ablaze with the moon's yellow haze
Come into my arms, bonnie Jean.

„If we only have love
We will never bow down“

—  Rod McKuen

As closing scene in the 1968 musical Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (1975 film version) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdSXpC8fbNA
Translations and adaptations, If We Only Have Love (1968)
Context: If we only have love
We will never bow down
We'll be tall as the pines
Neither heroes nor clowns.
If we only have love
Then we'll only be men
And we'll drink from the Grail
To be born once again
Then with nothing at all
But the little we are
We'll have conquered all time
All space, the sun, and the stars.

„If we only have love
Then tomorrow will dawn
And the days of our years
Will rise on that morn.“

—  Rod McKuen

Translations and adaptations, If We Only Have Love (1968)

„If we only have love
We can reach those in pain
We can heal all our wounds
We can use our own names.“

—  Rod McKuen

Translations and adaptations, If We Only Have Love (1968)

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