A Voice of the Warm: The Life of Rod McKuen

A Voice of the Warm: The Life of Rod McKuen

by Barry Alfonso


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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on March 1, 2021


In his 1960s-1970s heyday, Rod McKuen was a phenomenally popular singer-songwriter as well as the bestselling poet in publishing history. To his legions of fans around the world, he was a voice of compassion and healing, as much a prophet as an author/entertainer. McKuen songs like "If You Go Away" and "Jean" earned him massive hits, while books like Listen to the Warm sold millions of copies.

McKuen's huge sales and devoted following didn't stop the critics from calling his work sentimental kitsch cranked out for the money. Who was this enigmatic artist who aroused so much love and hatred? A Voice of the Warm: The Life of Rod McKuen is the first-ever biography of one of the 20th century's most popular and misunderstood pop-culture icons. Drawing upon extensive research and over 100 interviews, author Barry Alfonso tells how McKuen overcame childhood physical and sexual abuse to become a teenage radio host, film actor, and Beat-style poet before connecting with a vast audience as a writer and recording artist. McKuen's role as a pioneering gay rights activist who bridged the '60s generation gap with a message of love and tolerance help to make his story uniquely relevant today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493059805
Publisher: Backbeat
Publication date: 03/01/2021
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.00(d)

About the Author

Barry Alfonso grew up in San Diego, California, where he began his career as a music journalist for publications like the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly, and Rolling Stone. He wrote songs for the films All the Right Moves (starring Tom Cruise) and Two of a Kind, as well as PamTillis’s number-one country hit “In Between Dances.” He received a 2004 Grammy nomination for the liner notes to the Peter, Paul and Mary box set, Carry It On.

Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Feinstein ix

Introduction xiii

Chapter 1 The Wandering Soul 1

Chapter 2 The Lonesome Boy 19

Chapter 3 Happy Is a Boy Named Me 35

Chapter 4 Mr. Oliver Twist 51

Chapter 5 Till My Ship Comes In 65

Chapter 6 Sloopy and the Summer of Love 79

Chapter 7 A Man Alone and Others 93

Chapter 8 Money, Mush, and Fun with Fondue 109

Chapter 9 A Kind of Loving 125

Chapter 10 Mac and Anita 139

Chapter 11 How Deep Is Down? 153

Chapter 12 The Last of the Wine 167

Coda: I'll Say Goodbye 181

Acknowledgments 185

Notes 191

Selected Bibliography 211

Selected Discography 213

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