Rodger Penzabene Lost Romantic


Kim Fowley on pop music: Music for lonely people, made be other lonely people

The new issue of Mojo had a section about the greatest heartache songs of all time. Their top choice was the elegiac “The Dark End of the Street,” which is basically just the ultimate walking out alone with nowhere to go tears running down your cheeks song.

But down a few notches lower I was shocked to find a story about a songwriter that I’ve never read a single word about, which just goes to show that like Voltaire essentially wrote in Candide there are just an endless number of less publicized stories of agony and pain in the world.

I’ve been trying to be more upbeat lately, but this story and its obscurity really got to me.

This is all Wikipedia has on him although see the comments maybe it isn’t all true.

“Rodger Penzabene was a songwriter for the Motown label. Among his most notable compositions are “The End of Our Road” by Gladys Knight & the Pips and Marvin Gaye, and a trilogy of three hits for the Temptations: “You’re My Everything”, “I Wish It Would Rain”, and “I Could Never Love Another (After Loving You)”.

The mournful break-up song “I Wish It Would Rain” in particular drew from Penzabene’s real-life pain. The songwriter found out that his wife was cheating on him, but could not bring himself to leave her, and his emotions on the situation are present in both of his final compositions, “I Wish It Would Rain” and “I Could Never Love Another”. On New Year’s Eve 1967, a week after the release of “I Wish It Would Rain”, Penzabene committed suicide.”

Holidays are killers for the true romantics. Wish you had hung in there Rodger.

I Wish It Would Rain

Sunshine, blue sky, please go away,
My girl has found another, and gone away
With her went my future, my life is filled with gloom,
So day after day, I stay locked up in my room

I know to you it might sound strange, but
I wish it would rain (oh how I wish that it would rain)
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah

Cause so badly
I wanna go outside (such a lovely day)
Everyone knows that a man ain’t supposed to cry
But listen, I got to cry, cuz crying, ooooooooh,
Is the pain, oh yeah

Yeah you know people, this hurt I feel inside,
Words, they, could never explain,
I wish it would rain (oh how i wish that it would rain)
Oh let it rain, rain, rain, rain (oh how i wish that it would rain)
Ooooooh baby

Let it rain (rain, rain)
Oh yeah, let it rain

Day in day out, my tear stained face
Pressed against my window pane
I search the skies, well, desperately for rain
Cause rain drops will hide my teardrops and no one will ever know
That I’m crying (crying) crying (crying)
When I go outside

To the world outside my tears I refuse to explain,
I wish it would rain (oh how I wish that it would rain)
Rain, rain, rain (oh how I wish that it would rain)
ooooh baby

Let it rain
I need rain to disguise the tears in my eyes
Yeah, You know I’m a man, I ain’t got no pride,
Til it rains, I’m gonna stay inside,
Let it rain, Let it rain
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…
Oh how I wish that it would rain…

59 Responses to “Rodger Penzabene Lost Romantic”

  1. Roger was my first cousin. I will never forget when he killed himself. It was a dark day forsure. He has a few of us out here.
    I remember as a kid how he loved to dance, and he danced well. Better than any of us.He was about 6 years older than me. And when your only 10 thats a lot of years.

  2. Cheryl,

    I just re-discovered the temptations 2 years ago and was moved by this song while going through a hard time with my spouse and was saddened to hear of your cousin’s passing. I know I and others have been trying to find a picture of him but there doesn’t seem to be any. Also on the credits for the Movie “men of Honor” they mention a Sr. and Jr. Penzabene which is confusing since the movie was made in 2000. I take it he had children too. My own brother in law stepped in front of a commuter train 3 years ago and left a wife and 2 daughters behind. He struggled with bi-polar disorder for years. I was a little confused when I finally read that Roger was African-American(even sadder) because Penzabene sounds Italian. Take care.


  3. Ms. Vance, I was really sad to read about Roger Penzabene’s tragic passing.

    I have been looking for a photograph of him. Do you or any family have one?

    Whatever became of his wife, the one he killed himself over?

  4. Really interested in knowing more about Penzabene.

  5. I’ve read in other places on web that he was Italian. was he or was he African-American?

  6. What happens when you fall so deeply in love with the wrong person

  7. Roger`s songs are some of my all time favorites,

    I didn`t know until recently what a true romantic he was.

    Isn`t it strange how hurt and pain produces such

    great art? Long live his romantic spirit.

  8. Roger and Helga had a baby boy they nick named “Pookie” I was friends with Helga’s younger brother, Powl. I often took Pookie home with me because I thought he was such an adorable little boy. I just ran across a picture of him and I together after I had not seen him in a few years. He’s about 6 years old in the picture. Wondering if anyone knows how he turned out and what he’s doing with his life. I wish him the best.

  9. My name is Carl Penzabene. I am the son of Rodger (with a D), Penzabene, the late writer for MOTOWN. My father was Sicilian, and Irish, not African American. My mother is African-American, and Scandinavian.I don’t know who Cheryl Vance is, I do not believe we are related in any way.My father also wrote more great songs for MOTOWN that he did not get credit for. As a young writer he was told he had to prove himself with hit records first. After his death he did not receive credit for a few other major songs. One in particular,” I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPE VINE”. Check the lyrics, and compare his writing style to his other songs. Cornielius Grant, was a childhood friend of his. Barrett Strong, and Norman Whittfield, only contributed small parts to the music composition, none of the lyrics.

  10. Carl;
    With all due respect what difference does it make if your dad was an African-American or not? He was a talented YET troubled soul that God put on this earth to share his gifts….

    You and your family will always be in my prayers and your father’s songs in my heart

  11. With respect to you Miss Johnson, I was letting the woman Miss Vance know she had made a mistake in her comment about being his cousin. Maybe you should take some time to read all the comments on both sides before you comment yourself.

  12. I am well and living in Mount Clemens, Mi.contrary to the info that has been going around for years, my husband did not kill himself over me-there were other circumstances, but that kind of thing makes Wikipedia interesting ( to some people).I do know Barbara–“hi Barbara, I’d like to see you!! Rodger did have a cousin named Cheyryl–Cheryl I tried contacting you at that email you gave me, but it was no good. I have tried to set the record straight about my husband for years, but no one wants the truth; that is sad because he was really a great person, and so am I. Carl is my son, and race does matter–does it not? Rodger was Sicilian, and he and I met at Mumford High School. Barbara, call me . Helga

  13. wow what a fascinating story – sorry if i stirred up sad memories by aping the article i read in Mojo – hopefully you guys will all get together soon.

  14. I wish it would rain is a great song. Heart break can be painful

  15. My son is currently producing/working with my grandson Vito; I am working on a book about Rodger and myself–how we met, etc; we are listed if you want to reach us, and I think people who liked Rodgers’ songs should know more about him.One thing that people do’nt know is that when we were in highschool, Rodger was singing and I was writting music; but Rodgers’ friend Cornelius Grant was the guitar player for Mary Wells, then Marvin Gaye, Then he became the Temptations mucis director; he and Rodger wrote “You’re My Everything” together, and that was Rodger’s intro to Motown. I have no problem answering questions for people. By the way, years after Rodger died, I wrote “What Happened to the Real Me?” on Mavis Staples “Only for the Lonely” album; I was in the studio with Don Davis to record the song myself and he noticed I was pregnant (huh?) and said I would not be able to promote the song. He suggested Mavis Staples and I thought it was going to be a single, but it was put on her album instead. I did club work for a while, raised my sons, remarried twice, now divorced. I am in the process of trying to do club work again- but one of my sons’ thinks nobody wants to here me sing!(lol). Young people are funny sometimes! I do sing in church–accapalla even! So you know, I’m good! (lol)

  16. I am a song writer helga.. and it will never go away..iv been through heart ache.. pain sad but true that’s what makes the best songs ..when it is in your soul it never goes away..your husband wrote beautiful songs. It is a shame How he didn’t get to see the impact his writing had on the world.. I am doing a new rendition of I wish it would rain and it is comming out nice.. and this is what drove me to find out more about the writer.. and it put chills in me.. I love the temptations but they wouldnt be here with out song writers..

  17. Rodger Penzabene was an extraordinary songwriter. As an aspiring lyricist, poet, story writer, and music lover, I say that with every bit of respect I have in me. When I heard of his tragic story, I couldn’t help but have my heart go out to him, and I felt his pain because my ex-husband left me for another woman.

    I went on a search to see if I could find out more about this exquisite lyricist and see if there was more to the story. I’m so glad that Mrs. Penzabene spoke out because I know that there are two sides to every story, and Ms. Helga has proven that.

    I don’t think there is a reason for Mr. Carl Penzabene to be so defensive and mean. I know there was a misunderstanding between him and Ms. Vance, and he wasn’t made aware of his relation to her, I can understand that, but the way that it was addressed could cause hurt feelings.

    Ms. Helga, I can’t wait to read your book. I would love to know more about Mr. Penzabene and how wonderful he must have been. I guess we’ve all learned a lesson. Unless it comes from “the horse’s mouth”, we shouldn’t believe everything we read on the interwebs! Blessings all!

    Oh, I’m 36-years-old, by the way, so I grew up listening to the Temps, Glady’s Knight, Marvin Gaye, Motown, etc., so Mr. Penzabene has almost always been a part of my life in a way. I wish much love, health, and happiness to Carl, Helga, Cheryl, and everyone else connected with him. Though it happened in ’67 – ’68, the pain can still be very real, and my thoughts and prayers are with all of you!

  18. Hi Carl/Helga-

    I was wondering if either of you administer for Rodger’s songs on the publishing side, specifically “You’re My Everything”? If so could you please email me directly.


  19. Hi J,I believe as of 2-4-2013 Carl has been in touch with you,and he is working on what you asked.It is alright for you to call me-586-846-2652,and Carl does take care of that stuff.Look forward to working with you.

  20. To The Penzabenes

    After hearing of Rodger’s death back in the 80’s, I always wondered about you! It’s nice to hear from the both of you and see that you’re still in Michigan. I’m originally from Detroit and (of course!) grew up on Motown and (of course!) the Temptations were my and everyone else I knew, favorite group. That song that Rodger wrote, I Could Never Love Another is my all-time favorite. He was a wonderful songwriter and you guys should feel such pride over the wonderful songs he wrote. So sorry to hear he wasn’t credited as a writer for Heard It Through the Grapevine…yes, the vibe of that song when you compare it to the 3 Temptation songs he wrote I can believe he wrote it! Well I wait with bated breath for your book Helga, and again, I wish you guys all the best!

  21. Hi Lynne; did you go to Mumford High? Thank you,for your nice comments,I’m still working on the book,and Carl is doing one also(from a child’s perspective). Cheryl Vance–I still want to get in touch with you–you can contact me thru this website,Brad knows hmy number;there is so much I’d like to share with you.Much love,Helga.

  22. Dear Ms. Penzabene, hearing your side is so refreshing. The songs your husband wrote were some of my favorites of all times. I can’t wait for your book to come out. I’m certainly going to buy it. The Temptations when David and Eddie were with them are my all time favorite group. Your husband’s writings had much to do with that. I wish I could communicate with you by email. “I AIN’T TO PROUD TO BEG” Blessings!

  23. Dear Helga Penzabene, I am a working musician/songwriter and I have been in the business for 30 years. It has been my sole means of supporting my family for 25 of those years. I’ve just been reading the conversation here and I must say I’m fascinated by the human interest of Mr. Penzabene. The Temptations were alive and well during my lifetime. This may sound cliche’ but, they really are my favorite vocal group. Such sweet emotion in every performance. How can anyone listen to them and not feel something they could relate to in life. This was a time of true, well crafted, musical works of art and “I wish it would rain” is a true testament of that. What a beautiful and timeless lyrical treasure Rodger and David created. Ms. Helga, you are so right to have your say in what happened in your life though. I too, am anticipating reading your book. I was not aware you were writing one until I read this website. It may even be done by now. I will be looking for it. Sweet Blessings be with you and your family, Buster.

  24. Dear Helga,
    So sorry it took me so long to get back to this site. Thank you all for writing such nice things about my cousin Rodger..It did surprise me that Carl didn’t know his dad had a cousin named Cheryl, He actually has two Cheryl’s. His mother Cindy had two sisters Mary and Rita. I am Mary’s child and the other Cheryl is Rita’s daughter. I live in Southgate the other Cheryl lives in Colorado. He actually has a few more then us .I have 2 brothers living near me and 1 brother I haven’t heard from in 30 years…the other Cheryl has a sister Jackie.. This gets complicated because none of us could get along with our Aunt Cindy, Rodgers mother .She and I were very close when I was a teenager but as I grew up we grew apart….
    Helga I just called the number I have and left a message hoping you will give me a call back.


  25. Looking forward to hearing from you Helga, I m sure we will have a lot to talk about, I can’t wait for your book. I have a tape of us kids where Rodger is dancing and really getting into it…MY brother Jim found some tapes when my parents died and he made one tape from what he found. I feel the need to get that tape out and watch it….I have a few pictures of Rodger I will go through my albums and find the ones of Rodger. He was very close to our Grandmother as she lived with Rodger and his Mother Cindy…

  26. I did call Cheryl, and I cant wait to talk with her!! Carl and I need all the info we can get about his father’s younger days to put in the book; I remember him going on vacation to Beaver Falls,Pa. when we were dating,but I never met anyone but his grandmother Mrs.Johnson, who visited us all the time,his father Johhny and his step-father Henry.I saw some of his relatives at his funeral,and I remember Rita, she was very pretty,and I don’t recall the other names.God has a way of working things out, and I am sooo happy that I have a number for Cheryl!! Now Barbara,if you get in touch with me,well, that would be great!! Brad, thank you so much for this website—I love you, and I will let you know how things are going.Helga

  27. Helga,

    Do you talk to Vito?

  28. Joy, I have not seen Vito or talked to him recently, but he has a you tube video under the name Rodg Lee, and you can probably reach him through that website: or try FaceBook!! Helga

  29. I wish it would rain has to be one of the most beautiful and sad songs that’s has ever been written. It makes you wonder what other songs Rodger would have written if he hadn’t been taken to soon. Ive loved Motown and the Temptations since the 70’s when I met my husband. 40 odd years later he still plays them in the car to our 7 year grand daughter who loves the songs as well. He tried to explain to her the meaning of Rain she just sat there and said that’s so sad gan gan lol.

  30. It is so heartwarming that so many people loved this song, and Rodger did write other songs which were recorded, but never released. I am also sad that so much false information about his death (and me) have been around all these years–but that will change soon, and the truth will be told. I wish everyone a “Happy New Year”. Helga

  31. Dear Helga,

    My name is Jaci and I am Rodger’s cousin. My sister, Cheryl, and I are Rita’s daughters. I am elated that I found this website.

    I am so excited that you are writing a book about him. We have many pictures of him growing up and visiting us in Brockway, PA (not Beaver Falls). Brockway is where his grandma (Mary Johnson) and grandpa (Gunnard Johnson) are buried, along with with his great grandma (Mary Bahleda) and our parents, as well.

    We were so proud of him and loved him so much. His death still haunts us both. We have many pictures of him with our family growing up, which we would be more than happy to share with you.

    My sister wrote a message on Wikipedia, a while back, asking your sons to reply, as we have always wondered what happened to you guys. Please, please read it, as she would love for you to respond.

    Rodger was 2 years older than my sister who is ten years older than I, so I was just a child when I knew Rodger, but my memory of him is still so clear. A couple of things that really stand out – He used to carry me on his shoulders a lot and his nickname for me was “Baby Jack.” I was always amazed at how he would play the piano, without ever taking a lesson.

    My sister, Cheryl, and he were so very close. Our families visited each other quite often, so they got to spend a lot of time together, as children and young adults. Sometimes, he and grandma would spend the whole summer with us. Cheryl can really tell you a lot about his youth.

    Please write back when you see my message. Please let us know if we can help in any way with the book you are writing.

    Thank you,


  32. How old was Rodger? Does anyone know a site that has a photo of him

  33. Correction: I meant to ask – How old was Rodger when he passed?

  34. hi The temptation for me was the greatest group of its time Their music was extremely melodic beautifully sang However their was more to the Temptations than that
    Their songs not only told as story that I personally could identify with but they created a mood of elation despair joy Through their wonderful songs came a voice that spoke to me and for me No other group before or since hasachieved that
    Rodger Penzabene was a glorious songwriter and was a significant pkayer in the history of the Temptatations
    We must celebreate his life and wish Helga and her family much happiness and good health

  35. I believe Rodger was 23 years old when he died. Brad,I want to send some pictures of Rodger; can I opload them to your sight? Please let me know how to send them,Helga.

  36. Dear Helga,

    My sister, Cheryl, and I went to see the Temptations in concert a few weeks ago. They were incredible. Before they sang “I wish it Would Rain,” they told Rodger’s sad story. It definitely brought tears to our eyes. We really wanted to meet Otis Williams, he was shaking people’s hands after the concert, but we couldn’t get through the crowd fast enough before he went back stage. We did, however, meet their music director, McKinley, who didn’t know Rodger personally, but said he knew you, Helga. We talked for awhile, he’s quite a character, but he couldn’t stress enough about how he admired Rodger’s work and what a talented songwriter he was. What a special evening we had; after 47 years, Rodger still lives on through his beautiful music………..


  37. About Roger Roger Penzabene – I wrote a stage play called “The Motown Story”, of which I told the story of Roger Roger Penzabene, as told though the eyes of people that knew him. I found out a great deal of people didn’t know about his tragic death!

  38. If it wasn’t infidelity, what were the “other circumstances”, generally speaking, that led to that young man committing suicide?

    Reading those song lyrics, and the fact that he committed suicide a week after the song was released, I’m having a hard time believing anything else was on his mind.

  39. “I believe Rodger was 23 years old when he died.”

    This is a strange comment coming from his WIFE. You don’t know how old he was?

  40. I just wish We knew why. There seems to be no answer. Rodgers words were powerful.

  41. Hi Helga and Carl,

    At 62, I have loved the Temptations since grade school in Chicago. I have all the Temps’ original autographs, including Cornelius Grant’s, and have lost count of how many times I’ve seen them.

    Rodger’s writing was certainly a major part of what made them so great. I’m so thankful they recorded his songs. There a You-Tube Temptation acapella performance of “I Wish It Would Rain” featuring Ollie Woodson, sung to Whoopi Goldberg that is just beautiful.

    If, by chance, Rodger left behind any unrecorded songs, I hope you can get them heard. Who knows how many more gems he would have written, had he lived. Your family should be very proud of his creativity, and how it has lasted for so many years.

  42. […] that Rodger did not kill himself over her. In 2012, she wrote in the comments to a post on Elvis Needs Boats that she was alive and well, living in Mount Clemens, Michigan. She has remarried twice, most […]

  43. Hi,to you all and your comments.I grew up mixed race ,in Liverpool,I can’t describe what growing up in the sixties was needed to have experienced the issues.So when The Temps ,Stevie,Marvin and the whole of the Motown family created the music that the world listened to,it helped change the views of many.Mr. Penzabene was there at the front of this special period certainly what was to be an awaking of personal pride .I went to see Jimmy Ruffin in concert in Liverpool ,in 1970,when I met him he told me the story of Rodger Penzabene something that stayed with me ,I went to see ,David Ruffin when he toured with Eddie Kendricks and Dennis Edwards,In England just before he passed away under the very mysterious events that has become yet another tragic and sometimes mis-informed account .David related the same story as Jimmy ,in that Rodger was indeed hurt and troubled with his private affairs .None of us has any right to comment on Helga or Rodger,this is their story and how can we judge when we do not know the facts.All I know is that Rodger Penzabene like many of his peers at Motown left a legacy that will always be a part of my and many people lives .Thank God they were there when the time we lived needed The spoken word to awaken the conscience of the time .Thank you Rodger Penzabene you passed a young man but your poetry was from someone with the maturity of someone that had seen more than many of never will God Bless

  44. I have always loved The Temptations…I lost my wife several years ago & I have never quite been same since…I’ve listened to I Wish it Would Rain numerous times since my wife passed & I know just how Rodger must’be felt when he wrote those lyrics…I’ve never felt a song quite so deeply as when I hear The Temptations sing it…naturally, I am a little intrigued by all the discussion here from Rodger’s family…I know one thing for certain: Rodger loved his wife very deeply & he loved his son & his extended family as well…&, I also know they all loved him just as much & they still do…Rodger is still here with us–his words & the message from his heart lives on…Aloha, Bill

  45. hi Bill,
    yes I can relate with you,on this .I too lost my wife as well as my the space of a few years,time never heals you just cope !,What does help is listening to some of the great music we were lucky to experience when we date our loved ones in the early stages of a relationship.You listen to Rodger’s Wish it would Rain with the Delivery of the voice of David Ruffin ,and memories of a an innocent youth come back ,to remind you of the love you shared .Anything the Temps sang ,a whole lot of Marvin ,listen to some of the most beautiful work ever created and you will find your good wife singing along with you ,God Bless Steve Liverpool England

  46. Which issue of Mojo was the article in? Thank you.

  47. Please let me know when you publish the book about your husband.

  48. Hello. “You’re My Everything” is just a brilliant pop song, and performance. Timeless.

  49. Helga ,or CARL, If you’re still here with us on this site …Where and when is this book(s) you talked about 2 years ago ? ? We all want to hear what you think really killed Roger if it wasnt the fact that he found out you were cheating on him as in his lyrics.. His love for you was so deep and most people dont appreciate the love he had for you early on as spoken in the earlier lyrics he wrote… I know them all well..I have followed this story for years. I would love to talk with you about Roger .
    Would you do an interview with me about Roger ? I will pay you for your time.
    Richie D –

  50. It would be easy to view lyrics written by Mr. Penzabene as your typical love song about unrequited love. That is until you learn the backstory of his songs. Mr. Penzabene wrote powerful lyrics from the deepest side of his heart and soul. They are simply beautiful and potent lyrics that are not usually revealed to be from a male point of view.
    I found myself relating to his heartfelt honesty. He departed this earth at the tender age of 23. We often don’t understand that at 23, this could very well be the first of a few times when a person is convinced that this is “the love of my life” or “how can I go on without you”. If you’re like me, no matter how definitive someone you trust tells you that there is a very possible that this is only the first of many romantic experiences you will have. “I Could Never Love Another” or “I Wish it Would Rain” may seem relevant for so many lifetimes. I am sure that some well meaning loved ones of Mr. Penzabene tried to convey this sentiment to him and to try and enjoy the journey you will know as “your life”. I hope he is at peace and that the loved ones he left behind, hold onto memories of the good times and joy of having known each other.

  51. Hello my name is Marty. I was close friends with Jim Penezabne Jr. We went to Hazel Park High together. His father was Jim Sr. His nickname was Scotty. He owned Scottys Party Store on John R in Hazel Park. We were getting ready to play golf at Racham by the zoo and a fellow came up and asked to join us and his name was Obie Benson of the Four Tops. Jimmy immediately recognized the name andi introduced himself. We spent the rest of the afternoon playing golf listening to stories of Rodger about his kindness and talent and singing Motown songs. Sticking in my mind forever will be Obie singing Bernadette and the intelligence and sweetness of Obie

  52. Hello everyone. I’m sorry that it has been so long since I have visited the site to share updates with you. Thank you so much to Brad Laidman, and all of you who have shared your comments, and expressed kind words about my father. I was just about finished with the book when my grandmother Cindy, (my fathers mother), passed away in 2014. Things got put on hold for a while, but I am happy to say that I have a lot more to share with all who are interested in my fathers story, and his music. I have over 300 photos of my father from an infant, up until the year he passed away. My mother Helga and my brother Rodger Jr., have entrusted me to care for and preserve all the items relating to and about my father. I have uncovered so many new things about him over the last two years, things I never knew, that the book is now becoming a movie script. I have several writers and producers interested in helping us tell the story. Yes I have new music he never published, some finished, others not. I am working with his friends that he grew up with, and was a part of a singing group, by the way they have quite a few songs with him as well, to finish, record, and publish the never before heard music. I promise I will do my best, we will do our best to honor his creations. There is so much, his original artwork as a child, his first guitar, prom pictures, his cap and gown, diploma, army records, many items to tell the whole story of his life. I even have the suicide note. Again, thank all of you who have shown love, care, and respect for my fathers music, and his memory. I have started a facebook page for him, Rodger Penzabene, and as I process the photographs of him, and the rest of the family, as well as other items, I will share them with his friends on his page. It’s not a fan page, those who join will be considered friends and extended family. Thanks again Brad, I hope we can also link the two pages. Best wishes to all.

  53. Hello,

    To all the Penzabene family thank you for sharing your story. As a ‘Soul Boy’ I have always loved the ‘Motown’ sound and was listening to Gladys Knight and the Pips when I just could not stop listening to ‘Take Me In Your Arms’ which i personally think is one of the great love songs ever!.The arrangement, the words are absolutely wonderful and the feeling from the song is so universal.

    I then decided to see who wrote it and came across the credited authors. I was amazed to see how young they were when they wrote this song and then I came across Rodger’s story.

    Please, please, please notify me when the book is written and if you want I would love to help promote it as it is going to be an amazing yet tragic story.

    Best Regards

  54. The sad story of Rodger Penzabene has been relayed many times by people that knew him and people that worked with him. His story is also conveyed fairly clearly in his lyrics. First, unbridled love for someone that he thought was extraordinary. Then shock, to find that he was being cheated upon. Finally complete despair resulting in his suicide. No need to quote the lyrics. Anyone on this site already knows them

    Just because the former Mrs. Penzabene says it ain’t so, doesn’t make it not true. It must be very difficult to have to explain to her children that her husband, their father, killed himself because of her infidelity. Because she cheated. But that’s exactly what happened.

    The former Mrs. Penzabene has also suggested that there was some ‘other’ significant event that caused her husband to kill himself. Like what? What could possibly be worse than finding out that all your dreams are smashed, that the person you love, and expect to be with forever, is cheating on you?

    Unfortunately, young people don’t really know each other very well; when they get married. Obviously he didn’t know her nearly as well as he thought and, it doesn’t appear that she knew him either.

    I’m not remotely interested in ‘the book’ that has been alluded to and hope it doesn’t sell a copy. I don’t think the person responsible for Rodger Penezabene’s death should ultimately be able to profit from it.

  55. I don’t get the impression that she wants to make money on a book. I think she wants the ability to tell her story. If it’s not true it’s as heartbreaking for her than it is for him if it is true.

  56. Although it is a family affair, what I do not understand (Helga) is why you cheated on him in the first place? He seemed like a kind man… obviously the fact that you had an affair with him must have played a role in his suicide and you know it! You can keep denying it if you want, but it is pretty obvious you played a role, whether or not you wee a major factor, in his decision to commit suicide. I hope the guilt lives with you forever.

  57. I was just in England and read an article in a Mojo publication which quotes Otis Williams “He had a wife who cheated on him. All the time, like it was a compulsive thing. He loved this woman beyond belief, and she was out trying to do her thing with whoever would have her. This is not hearsay. She approached me , and I wouldn’t have anything to do with it. But she found plenty of other takers.”

    I don’t know the truth but apparently the story won’t die. Hopefully, it is not true.

  58. My mother Helga passed away from cancer in 2016. She never wrote the book. Over the years she spoke about Rodger, my two older brother’s father with love and regret. They were young and an interracial couple living in the 60’s, need I say more? She was a beautiful, caring and sometimes misunderstood woman because people judged her by her looks instead of getting to know her! As with all news especially bad news, people love to make insensitive comments. Get a life! I want to say thanks to all the people who made positive comments about Rodger, his music and my family. May Rodger and my mother RIP.

  59. R.I.P. Helga.

    The original story was sad enough, but reading through these comments is just as sad.
    Certain people were here insulting an old woman who had in fact died while they were attacking her. To quote one of these sick individuals who chose to attack a woman in her 70s “I hope the guilt lives with you forever”.

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