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  #1  
Old 11 June 2007, 12:40 AM
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Icon106 'MacArthur Park'

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The lyrics 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."
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,7177038.story
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  #2  
Old 11 June 2007, 05:15 PM
Ajay
 
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This bit tickled me:

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I also wrote 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix' about her, but I never even got as far as Riverside.
The problem for me with the lyrics is not that they're surreal but that they tend to bathos. I'm with the images of the stately dance of time and love's passion, but then Webb hands me "a striped pair of pants." The sunny picture of his loved one as spring personified suddenly veers into "the old men playing checkers by the trees". A couple of beautiful metaphors about wine and the sun end with the myspace-worthy "You'll still be the one". Webb can't seem to write a conclusion without it becoming a punchline.

Thanks for posting it, snopes. Now I've got memories not only of Richard Harris groaning his way through the song, but also of my dad telling us all to shush while he turned up the volume on the car radio one wet day in Sydney and sang along...

A "I don't think that I can take it" Jay
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  #3  
Old 11 June 2007, 05:27 PM
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I'm confused about his reference to "By the Time I Get to Phoenix". In that song, the guy is leaving his girl. He's done this many times before and always changed his mind, so he figures she won't take him seriously for the first day or so.

He doesn't say much about his girlfirend at the insurance company, but what he does say doesn't exactly fit the song.

Oh, well. Wouldn't be the first time I've completely misinterpreted a set of song lyrics.
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  #4  
Old 11 June 2007, 07:24 PM
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Icon106

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Originally Posted by Dog Friendly View Post
I'm confused about his reference to "By the Time I Get to Phoenix". In that song, the guy is leaving his girl.
He might have just gender-switched the lyrics to make it suitable for a male vocalist.

- snopes
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  #5  
Old 11 June 2007, 08:37 PM
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I'm with Dave Berry.

Worst. song. ever.
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  #6  
Old 11 June 2007, 08:50 PM
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I've never understood the venom and think it's a beautiful song, well delivered. The mood/ feeling is enough to carry it through for me.

Pity Webb didn't address one of the urban legends of pop that I once saw in the NME's Apocraphyl Now collection: that he bought a hugely expensive stereo system for his aircraft...then found the engine made such a racket that the only record that was loud enough to be heard was "Live at Leeds" by The Who.
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  #7  
Old 11 June 2007, 10:19 PM
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Ramblin' Dave Ramblin' Dave is offline
 
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Originally Posted by Faith View Post
I've never understood the venom and think it's a beautiful song, well delivered. The mood/ feeling is enough to carry it through for me.
My problem with it is that the image of the cake is just so cloying and treacly, and that so many other songs do a better job of addressing the lost love theme. Then there's the go-go interlude that doesn't appear to have anything to do with anything vis a vis the rest of the song.

I could, however, think of several songs that are better candidates for worst song ever. "You're Having My Baby" is my usual candidate for that one.
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  #8  
Old 11 June 2007, 11:55 PM
TB Tabby TB Tabby is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snapdragonfly View Post
I'm with Dave Berry.

Worst. song. ever.
I guess Dave never heard that "all because two people fell in love" song. Macarthur Park is right up there, though...
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  #9  
Old 14 June 2007, 10:35 AM
finkles2000
 
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The only version of this song I really like is the disco version by Donna Summer (unless you count Apu's niece singing it on the beauty pageant ep of THe Simpsons). Interestingly, Richard Harris sang "MacArthur'S Park," instead of just plain "MacArthur Park." I remember reading somewhere where the writer tried to tell him that it wasn't plural, but to no avail. And when Donna Summer sings the song, she sings "MacArthur'S Park" as well. I find that intriguing. If you listen to it, you'll notice.
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  #10  
Old 14 June 2007, 12:40 PM
Ajay
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finkles2000 View Post
If you listen to it, you'll notice.
I'm happy to take your word on it.
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  #11  
Old 21 June 2007, 05:37 AM
BamaRainbow BamaRainbow is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finkles2000 View Post
The only version of this song I really like is the disco version by Donna Summer (unless you count Apu's niece singing it on the beauty pageant ep of THe Simpsons). Interestingly, Richard Harris sang "MacArthur'S Park," instead of just plain "MacArthur Park." I remember reading somewhere where the writer tried to tell him that it wasn't plural, but to no avail. And when Donna Summer sings the song, she sings "MacArthur'S Park" as well. I find that intriguing. If you listen to it, you'll notice.
Actually, that's not plural, but possessive. (In other words, not "MacArthurs Park" but "MacArthur's Park". The apostrophe, normally followed by an "s", is used in English to indicate possession; words ending in an "s" take the apostrophe with an optional "s".) Wrong either way, but a necessary correction.
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  #12  
Old 21 June 2007, 07:18 AM
Ajay
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BamaRainbow View Post
Actually, that's not plural, but possessive.
There's no doubt, you know your punctuation.

Since both Richard Harris and Donna Summer sang their versions instead of writing them down, do you think the written form could be open to interpretation?
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