Platinum-Selling Songwriter Jimmy Webb On The Stories Behind His Biggest Hits

May 10, 2018

Platinum-selling songwriter Jimmy Webb stopped by our studio last October to talk about his first memoir, "The Cake And The Rain." Artists from Frank Sinatra to Barbara Streisand have recorded Webb's songs. Some of his hits include “Up, Up and Away,” “Wichita Lineman,” “MacArthur Park,” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix.”

Our conversation begins with a discussion of his childhood in rural Elk City, Oklahoma. He explains how his mother’s “iron will and sometimes anger” drove him to the piano. Plus, Webb talks about the time he was out plowing a field when a voice on the radio captivated him. It belonged to Glen Campbell, who became a close collaborator of Webb’s. 

He reveals the story behind  his celebrated classic "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," for which Campbell won two Grammy awards. Webb also talks about his hit "Wichita Lineman," another song that Campbell recorded. Once, at the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Billy Joel described “Wichita Lineman” as being “emblematic of an ordinary man having extraordinary thoughts.”

Our conversation also covers the making of “MacArthur Park” and “Up, Up, And Away.”