Tuesday, July 10, 2018

"Richard Harris MacArthur Park Original 1968"

Wtf does this song mean?

1 comment:

TSE said...

Heartsick love - and moving forward after the breakup.

The lyrics, meanwhile, were deeply personal: "In mid-1965, I was absolutely besotted with my girlfriend at the time. MacArthur Park was where we met for lunch and paddleboat rides and feeding the ducks. She worked across the street at a life insurance company."

The breakup left Webb reeling, and writing. "I also wrote 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix' about her, but I never even got as far as Riverside. But I lost her. She married some other guy. We're still friends. Her name is Susan Ronstadt" (a cousin to singer Linda Ronstadt.)

"Those lyrics were all very real to me; there was nothing psychedelic about it to me. The cake, it was an available object. It was what I saw in the park at the birthday parties. But people have very strong reactions to the song. There's been a lot of intellectual venom."

There have been vats of it, in fact. The Harris recording, surprising everyone, surged to the top of U.S. charts, hitting No. 2, making it ripe for backlash. Critics attacked the song as bloated and mocked Harris for his arched delivery and mispronouncing it "MacArthur's Park." The venom never dried up: Through the years, it's been spoofed by the likes of "Weird" Al Yankovic, "Saturday Night Live" and "The Simpsons" and in "Dave Barry's Book of Bad Songs" in 1997 it was ranked No. 1, the very worst song ever recorded.

On the flip side, though, many people have recorded it. Donna Summer's fevered disco version even hit No. 1 in 1978. Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and Sammy Davis Jr. also took it to the studio. So did Stan Kenton Liza Minnelli, the Four Tops and Waylon Jennings — four times.

Webb had many more hits, but "MacArthur Park" remains his most polarizing song, and some days, he concedes, it feels "like a hump on my back." Other moments he admires its youthful ambition. "I wish I had spent a little more time on the song. But who knew it was going to be this crazy thing? I can say I'm very glad that it wasn't my last song." Webb sighed. "I think this will be the last interview on that song. I'm going to move on."


It's not like - getting high on some really good shit on a Summer's night, going to North Beach - at Midnight - and it's still 100 degrees out - laying down in the sand - staring up at the Stars and Moon in the sky above - and melding with the Universe.