THE CAKE AND THE RAIN By Jimmy Webb


MacArthur Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh, no!

Back in the Sixties, Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” was an unlikely hit. It was over seven minutes long at a time when most songs on the radio were a little over two minutes long. It was “sung” by British actor Richard Harris. “MacArthur Park” included some loopy lyrics. In The Cake and the Rain, Jimmy Webb writes about “MacArthur Park” and his other hits like “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Galveston”–hits for Glen Campbell. Jimmy Webb writes about his encounters with The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, the Supremes, Joni Mitchell, Simon & Garfunkel, and Elvis. In the Sixties and early Seventies, Jimmy Webb churned out hit after hit. Most of these songs were collected on the box set, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress (2004). What is your favorite Jimmy Webb song? GRADE: B+
THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS, TRACK LISTING:
Disc: 1
  1. Sleepin’ in the Daytime
  2. P.F. Sloan
  3. Love Song
  4. Carless Weed
  5. Psalm One-Five-O
  6. Music for an Unmade Movie: Songseller
  7. Music for an Unmade Movie: Dorothy Chandler Blues
  8. Music for an Unmade Movie: Jerusalem
  9. Three Songs: Let It Be Me/Never My Love/I Wanna Be Free
  10. Once Before I Die
  11. Met Her on a Plane
  12. All Night Show
  13. All My Love’s Laughter
  14. Highpockets
  15. Marionette
  16. Laspitch
Disc: 2
  1. One Lady
  2. If Ships Were Made to Sail
  3. Pocketful of Keys
  4. See You Then
  5. Galveston
  6. Campo de Encino
  7. Love Hurts
  8. Simile
  9. Hurt Me Well
  10. Once in the Morning
  11. Catharsis
  12. Song Seller
  13. When Can Brown Begin
  14. Piano
  15. Love Hurts [Single Version]
  16. Ocean in His Eyes
  17. Feet in the Sunshine
  18. Cloudman
  19. Lady Fits Her Blue Jeans
  20. Just This One Time
Disc: 3
  1. Crying in My Sleep
  2. It’s a Sin (When You Love Somebody)
  3. Alyce Blue Gown
  4. Land’s End/Asleep on the Wind
  5. The Highwayman
  6. If You See Me Getting Smaller I’m Leaving
  7. Mixed-Up Guy
  8. Christiaan No
  9. Moment in a Shadow
  10. Sugarbird
  11. Where the Universes Are
  12. P.F. Sloan
  13. Dance to the Radio
  14. The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
  15. Skylark (A Meditation)
Disc: 4
  1. No Good Indian [#][Outtake]
  2. Jet Lag Rag [#][Outtake]
  3. You Might as Well Smile [#][Outtake]
  4. Whistletown [#][Outtake]
  5. It Will Stand [#][Outtake]
  6. Hot Rod Queen [#][Outtake]
  7. See That Girl [#][Outtake]
  8. It Ain’t Raining [#][Outtake]
  9. Vagabond Queen [#][Outtake]
  10. If This Was the Last Song [#][Outtake]
  11. Saturday Suit [#][Demo Version]
  12. Cloudman [#][Demo Version]
  13. Fingerpaint Me [#][Demo Version]
  14. Mr. Shuck and Jive [#][Demo Version]
  15. Simile [#][Demo Version]
  16. Piano [#][Demo Version]
  17. Love Hurts [#][*][Demo Version]
Disc: 5
  1. Overture [Live][#]
  2. Sleepin’ in the Daytime [Live][#]
  3. By the Time I Get to Phoenix [Live][#]
  4. Macarthur Park [Live][#]
  5. Wichita Lineman [Live][#][Instrumental]
  6. Didn’t We [Live][#]
  7. My Guitar Wants to Kill Your Mama [Live][#]
  8. Pocketfull of Keys [Live][#]
  9. When Can Brown Begin [Live][#]
  10. Once in the Morning [Live][#]
  11. Song for My Brother [Live][#]
  12. Where’s the Playground Susie? [Live][#]
  13. Jerusalem [Live][#]
  14. Galveston [Live][#]
  15. Whistletown [Live][#]
  16. Piano [Live][#]
  17. Wichita Lineman [Vocal Version][Live][#]

42 thoughts on “THE CAKE AND THE RAIN By Jimmy Webb

  1. Cap'n Bob

    I’ve never heard of most of those songs! Of the ones I know, I’d pick “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”

    Reply
  2. wolf

    Those Glen Campbell songs really hit a nerve with me – can’t explain why really but I played them over and over.

    Many years later I finally decided: When Steve Winwood did a tour of Texas I booked a cheap flight to Houston (of course – as a science and science fiction fan …) and the next day I was driving to Galveston …
    Then I went to the concerts in Houston and my favourite city:
    Austin! The music bars – and the bats under the bridge …
    Two weeks in Texas was one of my nicest holidays, helped me get over the loneliness after my first wife had died …
    I have so many wonderful memories – though I didn’t make it to Phoenix, not enough time.

    Reply
    1. Steve Oerkfitz

      By the Time I Get to Phoenix by Nick Cave. Not a fan of Campbell-I look at him and think wife beater(this from Tanya Tucker).

      Reply
  3. Deb

    Does Webb mention his relationship with the much younger (as in, not yet a legal adult when they first got together and had their first child) Patsy Sullivan? They eventually married and had a bunch of kids before divorcing in the 1990s. Well, it WAS the 1960s–we did things differently then.

    /”Galveston” or “Wichita Lineman”–the Glen Campbell versions; I love that lush orchestration.

    Reply
      1. wolf

        And much later his return to god …

        Some people are strange – but it obviously takes a lot of strangeness to have a career like Webb.

        PS:
        For us Europeans in the 60s and 70s it was kind of strange – we saw and heard songs but of course could not see the people behind those songs: the writers, producers, manager etc which often were much more important than the performers. Much later there appeared books like biographies which told these stories, some of which I bought and read, really fascinating.
        This has changed totally in the new connected world where you can find all that background info – if you’re interested.
        Even if you just use wikipedia you get a lot of interesting background info – right now after seeing your post, George, I jumped on wiki from Webb to Campbell and the Highwaymen and could have gone on but I have to go out in the garden now, help my wife with harvesting:
        Strawberries, raspberries, sour cherries and cherries – we’ll have them later with some “Black Forest icecream” – delicious! 🙂

  4. mary mason

    Of the ones I know to be by Webb, I don’t really have a favorite. I don’t really care for any of them, possibly as I prefer fast songs to slow ones. For me to enjoy a slow song it has to be really good. I may have enjoyed some he wrote that I didn’t know he wrote them (if that makes sense, up way too early as I can’t sleep)

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Maggie, “Up, Up, and Away” was a big hit for the Fifth Dimension. It was an upbeat, perky hit. It really brought Jimmy Webb a lot of attention.

      Reply
      1. george Post author

        Maggie, Jimmy Webb includes a list of all his songs that hit the BILLBOARD charts. He was very successful back in the Sixties and Seventies.

  5. Jeff Meyerson

    I always liked “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Up, Up and Away,” as well as most of the other songs he wrote on the first two Fifth Dimension albums.

    I did buy “MacArthur Park” – but then, I was buying everything in the mid-60s. I always disliked the Donna Summer remake.

    Reply
  6. Jeff Meyerson

    I knew nothing about Webb’s personal life.

    In 1974, Webb married 19-year-old Patricia ‘Patsy’ Sullivan, a model-cover girl and youngest child of screen actor Barry Sullivan and Swedish actress and model Gita Hall. The couple met posing for the cover of Teen when she was twelve years old. Sources say their age difference at the time caused a lot of criticism from the press due to Patsy’s young age. Walking down the aisle at their wedding was their 18-month-old son who had been born when Patsy was still a minor. After they married, the couple had four more sons and then a daughter together.

    He’s married now to Laura Savini, who is from the Long Island PBS station (WLIW-Ch. 21) and does a lot of pledge drive promos. Who knew?

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Jeff, Jimmy Webb has lived a colorful life. THE CAKE AND THE RAIN shows how Webb’s success came together…and how it came apart.

      Reply
    1. george Post author

      Patti, I agree with you. There’s a lot of poignancy in Jimmy Webb songs. I’m a big fan of the 18-minute version of “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” by Isaac Hayes. Very moving.

      Reply
  7. Fred Blosser

    For me, “Montage,” aka “I Knew that You Knew,” by the Love Generation — from the James Garner/Debbie Reynolds/Paul Lynde movie “How Sweet It Is.” It only made it to #86 on Billboard in Summer 1968, but it has big nostalgia value for me. “MacArthur Park,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Up Up and Away” are great too. Man, 1967 and 1968 were a long time ago.

    Reply
      1. Jeff Meyerson

        Montage.

        I remember seeing the movie in 1968 when we were dating and going to the movies every weekend. It was mediocre. I had no memory of the song.

  8. Rick Robinson

    I’m unclear if this is a book, a CD set, or what.

    I like “MacArthur Park,” – I was living only a mile from it at the time – “Wichita Lineman,” and “Up Up and Away”. As Fred says, 1967 and 1968 were a long time ago.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Rick, THE CAKE AND THE RAIN is a book. I included the TRACK LIST from Jimmy Webb’s 5-CD set THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS to give you a sense of his production.

      Reply
  9. Steve Oerkfitz

    Can’t believe all the love for Up Up and Away? Hate that song. Hate the Fifth Dimension who were appealing to the Up With People crowd. Only group I hated more were the Swingle Singers.

    Reply
  10. Cap'n Bob

    Glen Campbell doesn’t have Alzheimer’s now! He died!

    I found The Swingle Singers hilarious, a perfect target for mockery!

    Reply
      1. george Post author

        Deb and Bob, CBS SUNDAY MORNING had a feature on Glen Gampbell’s last concert tour a year ago. His daughter was “guiding” Campbell through the set. He would forget the words to the songs from time to time. Very sad.

  11. Fred Blosser

    George, “How Sweet It Is” is available from Warner Archive Collection as a manufactured-on-demand DVD. As Jeff indicates, it isn’t great shakes, and the sex-farce plot looks really dated now, but Debbie Reynolds gives it a game try. The Love Generation’s “Montage” is posted on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_N6opXzcWw .

    Reply
  12. Beth Fedyn

    You and I must be the only people who bought this book but I haven’t read it yet.

    I know it regularly shows up on “Worst Song” lists but I LOVE MacArthur’s Park! Also, The Wichita Lineman and Galveston.

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Beth, “MacArthur Park” was a huge hit in the Sixties. “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston” made it to the top of the charts, too!

      Reply
  13. Patsy Sullivan Webb

    I am told Jimmy did not mention me in his memoir. I never read it but was contacted by many friends and journalists who found my omission startling and upsetting. Personally, I find it funny. Cutting out your 13 year old girlfriend and mother of your six children and wife of 22 years takes hutzpah!

    Reply
    1. george Post author

      Patsy, as you may have gathered from my review of THE CAKE AND THE RAIN, I have mixed feelings about Jimmy Webb and his work. Certainly, you should have been a Major Figure in the story of his Life. The fact that he left you out is…damning.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *