The Beat (music group)

Remembering Rod McKuen, the accidental hipster

Remembering Rod McKuen, the accidental hipster

I was with an acquaintance -- a music expert who, like me, is in his early 40s -- when I heard Rod McKuen had passed away at 81. "The cheesy easy-listening music guy?" he asked.

His assessment is not exactly incorrect. It is undeniable that McKuen's many albums of the 1960s and '70s are now seen as cheesy artifacts of a bygone era, dusty LPs with sentimental covers found in the packed bins of seemingly every Goodwill across America (go ahead, try not to find a copy of 1967's "The Sea" or 1974's "Alone" at your nearest thrift store).

And the same goes for his volumes of best-selling poetry -- or "doggerel," in the words...

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