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Songwriter, Poet Rod McKuen Dies At 81

Ezio Petersen
UPI /Landov

The obituary in The Los Angeles Times describes Rod McKuen as "prolific" and that may well be an understatement considering the many compositions he churned out.

McKuen is credited with more than 200 albums and more than 30 collections of poetry.

His work included the Academy Award-nominated song "Jean" from the 1969 film The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, andMcKuen's music for the animated feature "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" was also nominated for an Oscar.

The Los Angeles Times writes: Among McKuen's commercial success 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," which was 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."

For as much as McKuen seemed to be loved by the general public, that was not the case with critics.

The New York Times writes: "For a generation of Americans at midcentury and afterward, Mr. McKuen's poetry formed an enduring, solidly constructed bridge between the Beat generation and New Age sensibilities. Ranging over themes of love and loss, the natural world and spirituality, his work was prized by readers for its gentle accessibility while being condemned by many critics as facile, tepid and aphoristic."

Rod McKuen died on Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif., after a lengthy illness. He was 81.

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Doreen McCallister
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