There probably will be no music at my real funeral. I’d rather prefer a reading of the last three pages of Pierre Drieu la Rochelle’s Le feu follet. However, at my fictitious funeral this All Saints’ Monday, my future ghost will engulf in the kitsch grandeur of the English version of Le Moribond. Jacques Brel’s 1961 original is a bit too snappy for my tastes, and Terry Jacks’s 1974 smash hit adaptation – originally to be recorded by the Beach Boys (!) – well, let’s put a shroud over it. The ultimate version is undoubtedly by Rod McKuen, close Brel friend and translator of many of his lyrics. His rugged-voice US version, adapted first by the Kingston Trio in 1964, sentimentalizes Brel’s chanson for sure, and simultaneously transforms it into big-scope American death disc drama. Paradoxically, the starfish on the beach granted him a nice bit of immortality.
Rod McKuen – Seasons in the Sun