Happy Anniversary, a song they started writing together in the 1970’s that McKuen has only recently completed, is the first in a string of Brel-McKuen songs that the American poet-singer-songwriter has produced from over a dozen songs the two friends and collaborators worked on together over the years of their long partnership that remain in various stages of completion.
"I’m working on others," McKuen said when reached at his home in Southern California. "And I hope to have enough finished soon for a brand new album."
"It's slow going," he added. "Because I want each song to be special. Those anticipating another Seasons in The Sun, Amsterdam or If You Go Away will I hope notice that our new stuff has taken a different direction."
Happy Anniversary is not a typical love song as the title might suggest. While it is about a couple who have been together many years and are celebrating yet another milestone, each has had more than their share of champagne and by the time they start to reminisce, recriminations threaten to override fond memories.
"I don’t expect this one to become the 'Happy Birthday Song' of those who celebrate each year. Still, Jacques and I always felt it was important to tell the truth about a relationship of long standing."
"Jacques was inspired to write the French lyric for Happy Anniversary by a song of mine entitled The Lovers. It sort of takes up where “The Lovers” leaves off. I spent years getting the English lyric to a point where I felt it was just right. Only now do I feel I can let go of it."
"I’m just as excited about another new song that I’ll be introducing called Drinking Doubles In A Singles Bar. This is one I completed from a song Johnny Mercer and I were working on at the time of his death.
"Mercer, you might recall gave us one of the great saloon standards, One For My Baby And One More For The Road. He wrote the lyrics to the beautiful Harold Arlen melody for that one. On Drinking Doubles Johnny and I wrote both the words and music.
"This coming November marks Johnny’s 100th Birthday and I thought it important to finish a few of our collaborations to celebrate his centenary."
An Intimate Evening with Rod McKuen opens on the Nelson Mandela Theatre stage of The Joburg Theatre Complex on May 15, 2009 for three exclusive performances only.
Booking is now open at Computicket. Ticket prices from R200 (exclusive of booking fee.) Visit www.computicket.com. Special Group Discounts are available for parties of ten or more by calling VIP Ticketing at (011) 877 6854.
Issued on behalf of The Johannesburg Civic Theatre by: