The featured image is of bosom buddies Jimmy Webb and the late Glen Campbell.
Jimmy Webb wrote Wichita Lineman in 1968 for Glen Campbell. Glen asked Jimmy for another place or geographical song to follow By The Time I Get To Phoenix.
What Glen wanted; Glen got. The result is a pop masterpiece. Thanks, Jimmy. Thanks, Glen.
There’s only one place to begin this week:
The Meters brought some New Orleans-style funk to the Webb classic. Struttin’ was featured in Album Cover Art Wednesday in 2019.
Here’s the songwriter and his piano.
R.E.M. live in ’95. Say no more.
Dwight Yoakam cut an electrifying version of Wichita Lineman in 1997.
Finally, a 21st Century jazz interpretation by Cassandra Wilson.
What would the Friday Cocktail Hour be without a jazz instrumental version of this week’s song?
This time, Gregoire Maret, Romain Collin, and Bill Frisell from their 2020 album Americana.
That’s it for this week. Let’s raise a glass to Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell. Thanks for all the wonderful music. It’s what Bogie, Betty, and Frank would want. Never argue with them.
2 thoughts on “Wichita Lineman”
When Jimmy Webb was asked for a place name follow-up to “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” he was working on “Wichita Lineman.” He knew who Glen Campbell was, but hadn’t met him and was contacted by a mutual friend. He sent a demo tape of “Wichita Lineman,” and didn’t hear back for a while, and other projects came up so he forgot about it until he got a phone call from Campbell himself. That “Wichita Lineman” song was great! They just cut it for Campbell’s next album. The song has just two verses and Webb protested, saying it wasn’t finished. Campbell laughed and said, “It’s finished now!”
I really like the song and its lyrics, and after reading Webb’s memoir a few years ago, I tried my hand at writing a third verse. It came out pretty good, at least in my mind, but that closing lyric of “I need you more than want you and I want you for all time” has to finish the song.
OMG that closing lyric slays me every time
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