Rod McKuen (29 April 1933 – 29 January 2015) was an American poet, songwriter, composer, and singer, one of the best-selling poets in the United States during the late 1960s. Throughout his career he produced a wide range of recordings, which included popular music, spoken word poetry, film soundtracks, and classical music, earning two Oscar nominations and one Pulitzer nomination. 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.
- 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.
- On Jacques Brel, in liner notes for Greatest Hits - Without a Worry in the World (August 1992)
Music to The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1968)Edit
- Jean, Jean, roses are red
All the leaves have gone green
And the clouds are so low
You can touch them, and so
Come out to the meadow, Jean.
- Jean, Jean, you're young and alive
Come out of your half-dreamed dream
And run, if you will, to the top of the hill
Open your arms, bonnie Jean.
- 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.
Translations and adaptationsEdit
- 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.
- Seasons in the Sun" (1961), as translated from the Jacques Brel song "Le Moribond"· McKuen performance · Beach Boys performance
- 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.
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)
- 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.
- "Only Love" by Jacques Brel as translated on the album After Midnight (1988)