Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Songs of Jimmy Webb...

     The late 60's belonged to Jimmy Webb. 

      His first big break was when Johnny Rivers signed him to a publishing deal and recorded his song, "By the time I get to Phoenix" in 1966. The next year Rivers was producing an album for a new group called The Fifth Dimension and turned to Webb for some songs. One of them became a breakthrough hit for the group and was the first real success for Jimmy. Later that year, Glen Campbell covered "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and was a hit for Campbell and has become a musical standard and began a long and fruitful musical relationship between the two.

     1968 was the year that propelled Webb into the rare status of a songwriting superstar. MacArthur Park and Wichita Lineman were great songs which earned him Grammy awards to add to the 8 that he won the year before. Lineman especially is an amazing piece of work with one of my favorite lines in a song ("I need you more than want you/and I want you for all time..."). It also established Glen Campbell as the best interpreter of his music. The hit Galveston in 1969 solidified that position.

     The following years never reached those dizzying heights although Webb has continued to win awards, write songs, and had also recorded a group of albums that have had great critical (if not chart) success over the last 45 years. Almost all songwriters in the rock era have reached star status for the interpretation of their own music. Webb has achieved superstar status solely on his writing ability....


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