Rod McKuen Unlikely Star, Shunned Limelight Living His Introspective Poetry and Songs

We somehow missed out on Rod McKuen during the day (late 1960s) even having grown up in his hometown of Oakland. But, we’re appreciating Rod’s beautiful music, lyrics and orchestrations (along with Anita Kerr’s). Interesting connection between other Bay Area folk, namely Glen Yarborough and Johnny Mathis and , of course, jack kerouoac. Never too late to discover or rediscover gens like Glen Yarborough sings Rod McKuen or Frank Sinatra’s commissioned album of McKuen songs.

‘The Gypsy Camp’ by Rod McKuen and Anita Kerr from their 1967 landmark album, by The Sea . Play this album as you drive down Ca Coastal Highway 1. No doubt Rod composed at least some of it with said scenery in mind

Rod McKuen Unlikely Star, Shunned Limelight Living His Introspective Poetry and Songs


You won’t find any Rod McKuens today. His type of poet/writer/singer/entertainer no longer exists in a more aggressive world of today. Well, they may exist, but well hidden in the shadows, never to see a Billboard Top 40 , which barely exists itself anymore. But the songs and poetry are still out there for us who want to harken back – or discover for the first time. Thanks Rod McKuen for what you gave us , even if it’s under- appreciated today . 

Some of us still hang on and enjoy your thoughtful prose and relaxed, inspiring melodies that WERE quite popular in the 1960s. We are enjoying them again 50  years later, here today, and even pulling out the old record albums again. Yes! (That 1967 landmark album , ‘By the Sea,’ you did with Anita Kerr is a true gem I will take with me on future drives down the California Coast.)

For more Rod McKuen, visit


FILE – In this May 23, 2003 file photo, actress Betty Garrett holds a replica of her new star as she poses with Jeff Bridges, left, Beau Bridges, center, and Rod McKuen, right, after her star was unveiled on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. McKuen, the husky-voiced “King of Kitsch” whose music and verse recordings won him an Oscar nomination and made him one of the best-selling poets in history, has died on Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015. He was 81. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)


Rod McKuen Was Unlikely Star, Shunned Limelight

Rod McKuen, a prolific songwriter and poet whose compositions include the Academy Award-nominated song “Jean” for the 1969 film “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” has died. He was 81.


McKuen had recently been hospitalized and died Thursday at a Beverly Hills rehabilitation center of respiratory arrest after suffering from pneumonia, according to his friend and producer Jim Pierson.
Among McKuen’s commercial successes in the 1960s and ’70s were his reworking of Jacques Brel’s song “Le Moribond” for the English-language version of “Seasons in the Sun,” later covered by the Kingston Trio and Terry Jacks. Frank Sinatra recorded an album of McKuen songs in 1969 called “A Man Alone,” which included “Love’s Been Good to Me.”


Besides his score for “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” McKuen’s music for the animated feature “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” was also nominated for an Oscar.

McKuen was born in Oakland in 1933 and wrote later of an unhappy childhood and the abuse he endured at the hands of his stepfather. In the ’60s, McKuen moved to Paris and began writing poetry. In all, he published more than three dozen collections of poems and essays.

A complete obituary will appear at


Rod McKuen, songwriter associated with Jacques Brel and Frank Sinatra, dies at 81
Rod McKuen, a prolific songwriter and poet whose compositions include the Academy Award-nominated song “Jean” for the 1969 film “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” has died. He was 81.


I met Rod years ago in the parking lot of Pavilions West Hollywood. We spoke for about 1/2 hr. mostly about his work for (and love of) Frank Sinatra. He was a genuine, sweet an personable man. May he rest in peace.

Rod McKuen Was Unlikely Star, Shunned Limelight



Joe Franklin was Ultimate Nostalgist, Mr ‘Memory Lane’

FRANKLIN1-master675 (2)“Joe Franklin’s Memory Lane,” read the sign nearly buried in an avalanche of ephemera in Room 305, off a nondescript hallway in a Times Square building.

The office door bore a small “Joe Franklin Show” sign, and to venture inside on Tuesday was to wander — or squeeze, given the clutter — through seven decades of show business in the life of Joe Franklin, who died on Saturday at age 88 from prostate cancer.

The “Memory Lane” sign was from Mr. Franklin’s television show, but it might as well stand for the entire office, which was nearly as much a New York institution as Mr. Franklin or “The Joe Franklin Show,” one of the longest-running programs in television history.

The place, at Eighth Avenue and 43rd Street, was a stuffed-to-the-gills repository, a hoard of ephemera Mr. Franklin collected during his time in show business. Mr. Franklin, who in recent years retained a late-night radio show on the Bloomberg Radio Network, showed up at his office six days a week until his hospitalization this month.





Joe Franklin and Debbie Reynolds, a frequent guest, in 1978 on “The Joe Franklin Show.”CreditHulton Archive/Getty Images

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Classic 1963 performance by Dick Dale on Ed Sullivan show featuring Dick singing before breaking into ‘Miserlou’

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Dick Dale, the King (and originator) of the Surf Guitar, PLAYS on following a very serious series of cancer operations and treatment. Against  doctors orders, Dale is performing again on a limited basis. We were fortunate to see him in his usual rare form Jan 22, 2015 at the City Winery , Napa, CA. Dale is more than a virtuoso guitarist . He is the consumate entertainer as well as philosopher and he expounded on the medical industrial complex he has been dealing with as well as ‘Love’ and other topics between performing his greatest hits and lesser  known songs. A most entertaining fellow and good guy we are happy to share with you here.Catch Dale and/or his music.SEE DICKDALE.COM

DICK DALE Comes out on stage to ovation  at City Winery, 1-22-15, Napa, CA


Dale catches fans up on his medical issues and ‘medical industrial complex’ before launching into ‘Rumble,’ Ghostriders’ and other songs  he’s become known for even if they weren’t his originals.








‘LET’S GO TRIPPIN’ was one of Dales two big hits in the early 60s

Dale talks about seeing Johnny Cash in 1956 and becoming a fan, performs Cash songs

Spanish ballad Dale wrote for his wife Lana. Dale talks about ‘Love’ that finally came to him late in life when he met Lana, who has seen him through his medical issues.

Dale’s signature song, ‘Miserlou,’ which took on a new life in the movie ‘Pulp Fiction’ a couple decades ago.

Dale closes show, telling fans ‘You Are My Medicine!”




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