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June 1, 2020 7:52 pm  #1

The Classic Hit Recorded Before It Was Finished Being Written

I came across this story from Forbes, about the great Jimmy Webb, who wrote dozens of hits ranging from MacArthur's Park, Up, Up & Away, By The Time I Get To Phoenix, The Worst That Could Happen and one of my personal favorites, Galveston, just to name a few.

But the article tells the story of another true classic of his, "Wichita Lineman" which became an iconic smash for Glen Campbell. Turns out, though, the song wasn't ready for prime time - or so Webb thought. 

"I did it in a hurry. I did it one afternoon. And when I sent it over to Glen, I sent a note with it saying, ‘I don’t really think this song is finished yet. But let me know. If you like it, I’ll do more work on it.’

"A couple of weeks went by and I didn’t hear from those guys and I thought, ‘Well, they didn’t like it.’ And that’s just the way it goes. You get a lot of that in my business,” Webb said. “So, I wandered into [producer/engineer] Armin Steiner’s [studio] one afternoon and Glen was finishing up. And I said, ‘Listen, no hard feelings about that ‘Wichita Lineman’ thing…’

"And he said, ‘We cut that!’ And I said, ‘You did? I told you that that song was only partly done and that I would work on it some more…’ And he said, ‘Well, it doesn’t matter. Because it’s finished now!’” recalled the songwriter."

I love stories like that. Imagine if he'd had the chance to finish it!

Legendary Songwriter Jimmy Webb On The 52 Years Since ‘Wichita Lineman’


June 2, 2020 4:39 pm  #2

Re: The Classic Hit Recorded Before It Was Finished Being Written

Wow!  What a story!!!  Thx aflem.  He is by far and away one of the most under-rated songwriters of all time - by far, my favorite.  Brilliant songwriter who made a lot of other people famous, as you pointed out, with emphasis on Glen Campbell who probably gained the most from Webb.  But the 5th Dimension, through Johnny Rivers, gained a great from Mr. Webb - so much that one of their early albums, Magic Garden, was 100% Jimmy Webb.  There is a combination of phenom performers and a songwriter that should have, could have just kept right on working together and never lost my appreciation for super music!!  His biggest fault is his lyrics for many some of his songs, for example his greatest, MacArthur Park.  Melody is unforgettable, and so are the lyrics but "unforgettable: in a different way.

IMHO, Webb is in a unique category - he doesn't really have a music category or genre, a little like Johhny Cash and the Indigo Girls and there's probably more.  You can't simply, cleanly put them in one genre.

Last edited by Little Rich (June 2, 2020 4:46 pm)


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