The 1960’s

(American Culture and Institutions Through Literature, 1960-1969)

In 1963-1964, McKuen lived in Paris, where he developed his chanson-influenced style of music. His 1966 English-language Seasons in the Sun became an award-winning album in France, and he developed a long-term relationship with French chanson artists such as Jacques Brel. In 1966, after former Limelighters singer Glenn Yarbrough recorded a collection of McKuen poems (including “Stanyan Street”) set to music, McKuen self- published Stanyan Street and Other Sorrows. The book sold more than sixty thousand copies before publisher Random House acquired the work. McKuen’s 1967 album, The Sea, a collection of songs about bodies of water and women, also sold well, reaching five hundred thousand copies in its first year. During the 1960’s, McKuen wrote numerous concertos, symphonies, ballets, and more than a thousand songs, including “Jean,” “Seasons in the Sun,” and “Love’s Been Good to Me.” His musical score for the popular 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was nominated for an Academy Award. That same year, he also scored or wrote songs for film and television productions including Travels with Charlie; Me, Natalie; A Boy Named Charlie Brown; and Rod McKuen: The Loner.

During the decade, McKuen published a number of volumes of poetry: Listen to the Warm (1967, collected lyrics from his songs), Lonesome Cities (1968, a man’s quest for self- identity, which was turned into an album that won a Grammy for best spoken-word album), The World of Rod McKuen, (1968, which contained songs with words and music), and In Someone’s Shadow and Twelve Years of Christmas (both 1969). By the end of the decade, more than three and a half million copies of his books were in print. In 1969, the popular poet and songwriter appeared before a sold-out house at Carnegie Hall.