Monday, August 08, 2005

MacArthur Park

As requested by Tessa. We seem to be preoccupied at the office with old songs lately. I guess it feels nice to be nostalgic every once in a while. :-)

This song was composed by songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1967, and was first recorded by Richard Harris in 1968. Ten years later, Donna Summer recorded a disco version of this song which reached #1. If you think Richard Harris looks familiar, its because he played Professor Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter movies. Bet you didn't know he was the one who originally recorded this song. :-) I only learned this when I looked this song up on the internet. He died in 2002 at the age of 72.

This song is supposedly about sex and drugs, specifically oral sex and LSD, but I can't seem to put my finger on it. Can someone tell me what the cake business is all about? :-)

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MacArthur Park
Richard Harris

Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance
Between the parted pages and were pressed
In love's hot, fevered iron
Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur's 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!

I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing checkers by the trees

MacArthur's 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!

There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it
I will drink the wine while it is warm
And never let you catch me looking at the sun
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
You'll still be the one

I will take my life into my hands and I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
After all the loves of my life
I'll be thinking of you
And wondering why

MacArthur's 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!
Oh, no
No, no
Oh no!!


Trivia:

In the summer of 1967, songwriter Jimmy Webb ("Up Up and Away") composed a 22-minute cantata that ended with a seven-minute coda called "MacArthur Park." He offered it to Bones Howe, who produced The Association, for possible inclusion on the group's fourth LP. Howe loved it, but the group did not want to give up half the album for Webb's project, so they rejected it.

Harris was an actor, not a singer. His performance on this was essentially "acting," as he read the lyrics with a great deal of drama. He recorded this shortly after starring in the movie Camelot. Some of his other films include This Sporting Life, Unforgiven, and Wrestling Earnest Hemmingway. He also played Professor Dumbledore in the first 2 Harry Potter movies.

Webb produced this for Richard Harris, crossing the Atlantic Ocean several times in the process.

Donna Summer recorded a disco version in 1978 that made it to #1 after it was released as a single. Her version was originally part of a 15-minute "suite."

This runs 7:20. At the time, it was still very rare for radio stations to play songs longer than 3 minutes. "Hey Jude" by The Beatles came out shortly before this, and when it became a hit despite running 7:11, stations learned that audiences would stick around if they liked the song.

Harris died on October 25, 2002. He was 72.


Reference:

MacArthur Park by Richard Harris Songfacts





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