Tuesday, November 6, 2018

MacArthur Park

I have no idea why American Digest posted a lip-sync version of Jimmy Webb's classic: MacArthur Park yesterday. And yet, it seems strangely, even surreally apt, so here's what AD posted:

This version is abbreviated, so why not also post the full song, sung by the man who first performed it, actor Richard Harris. There is no decent visual where Harris is singing the song, so here's an audio:


Sam L. said...

You missed the picture of the cake? And the text? Es vass fur FUN, Stuart. Gerard, he does funny stuff from time to time.

JPL17 said...

Thank you for posting these, Stuart! As much as some people like to make fun of the song's lyrics or Richard Harris' emotive vocals, I still think "MacArthur Park" is one of the greatest pop songs ever written. It gives me chills every time I hear it.

(And having just ridden my bike from Hell's Kitchen to Union Square, right now I kind of identify with the cake left out in the rain, to boot.)

Soul of Brevity Man said...

Why did American Digest post a lip sync version of "MacArthur Park?"

Because Gerard

David Foster said...

For a song that apparently almost everybody hates, there has sure been a lot of speculation about the lyrics.

Just the other day, I ran into this post about the theories and the true story:


JPL17 said...

For a song that apparently almost everybody hates ....

Well, everybody except all the ones who love it, that is. Whenever polls of the "100 Best Songs of All Time" and "100 Worst Songs of All Time" are taken, "MacArthur Park" usually manages to make it onto both lists.

Anonymous said...

Makes both lists for all of time! My favorite part, pervasive auto-cannibalism.

JPL17 said...

pervasive auto-cannibalism


Sorry, but you'll have to do some fancy footwork to convince me that there's any (never mind "pervasive") auto-cannibalism in "MacArthur Park" ....

Anonymous said...

JP.. anyways bro, I seriously loved your comment man.

Anonymous said...

This is gonna be our fave song!

Not a Robot said...

Your first clue that this is NOT a 100 greatest songs of all time situation? The song is being sung by a one-hit wonder English ACTOR, having been penned by one Country-and-Western-hit wonder Jimmy Webb. Harris had already been nominated for an Academy ward twice before this song got pitched to a record producer.

Now, does anybody in his or her right mind really think that if this piece of musical dreck had been submitted by an unknown artist that it would have had any chance whatsoever of escaping a recording studio. Or would the whole ludicrous submission have been circular-filed right after hearing the first stanza. I ask you

Sam L. said...

Not a Robot, I guess you just had to be there at the time. I liked it then, and still do. It's plaintive. It was '68, mannnnn; it was LBJ and the WAR, mannnnnn. In '70, I crawled into a hole and stayed there for eight years, mannnnn. It was HARSH. Not that I was bummed about it, or anything.

Anonymous said...

Sam L, fascinating.. please do tell us more about what this hole was like and when you first heard "MacArthur Park" I've heard the horror stories of canine creatures crawling up trees there and paddies full of mines.

JPL17 said...

Dear Not a Robot,

Your musicological knowledge is somewhat lacking. Webb is rightly considered one of the greatest songwriters of the 20th Century. Far from being a "one Country-and-Western-hit-wonder", he wrote literally dozens of songs that were hits for many singers and groups. Here are a few just off the top of my head:

“All I Know” – Art Garfunkel, others
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” – Glen Campbell, Isaac Hayes, many others
“Didn't We” – Richard Harris, others
“Galveston” -- Glen Campbell, others
“The Highwayman” – The Highwaymen (supergroup featuring Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson + Kris Kristofferson), others
“Honey Come Back” – Glen Campbell, others
“MacArthur Park” – Richard Harris, Waylon Jennings, Donna Summer, Frank Sinatra, others
“The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress” – Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Josh Groban, others
“Too Young to Die” – David Crosby, others
“Up, Up and Away” – The Fifth Dimension
“Where's the Playground Susie” – Glen Campbell
“Wichita Lineman” – Glen Campbell, many others
“The Worst That Could Happen” -- The Fifth Dimension, The Brooklyn Bridge, others

So while "MacArthur Park" may not be everyone's cup of tea, Webb himself is not so easily dissed.

Anonymous said...

I think /Not a Robot/'s double take reaction to "MacArthur Park" is totally normal. There are plenty of old hits most today wouldn't be able recognize being familiar. I had not heard of "MacArthur Park" either until this blog. I liked the song so thorough I don't think I will ever have to listen to it ever again to re-experience its goodness.