We Touch the Sky

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H. Hamilton, 1979 - 152 pages
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About the Author

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About the author (1979)

Rodney Marvin McKuen was born in Oakland, California on April 29, 1933. He never knew his biological father, and he was raised by his mother and an abusive alcoholic stepfather. He left home for good at the age of 11. He worked as a ranch hand, disc jockey, railroad worker, rodeo cowboy, and newspaperman. After settling in San Francisco in the 1950s, he began writing poetry and delivered his work at readings alongside the likes of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg. He also sang at Bay Area nightclubs and was briefly a contract player at Universal Pictures. He was a poet, lyricist, and songwriter. During his lifetime, he wrote dozens of books of poetry and a memoir entitled Finding My Father: One Man's Search for Identity. His best-known songs, some written with the Belgian composer Jacques Brel, include Birthday Boy, A Man Alone, If You Go Away and Seasons in the Sun. He was nominated for Oscars for Jean from The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and for A Boy Named Charlie Brown, the title track from the Peanuts movie. His Lonesome Cities album won a Grammy for best spoken word recording. His songs were recorded by several popular artists including Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Barbra Streisand, Madonna, Dolly Parton and Chet Baker. He died as a result of pneumonia on January 29, 2015 at the age of 81.

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