MacArthur Park by Richard Harris

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October 12, 2015
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October 13, 2015

MacArthur Park by Richard Harris

"MacArthur Park" by Richard Harris

Well, what can we say about “MarArthur Park” by Richard Harris? You’re either with him, swept up in the images and emotions of the performance and arrangement that describe this nostalgia for a love lost — or you find the cake out in the rain and the theatrics funny.  It’s a long song, coming in at more than seven minutes.  Songwriter, composer and singer Jimmy Webb (“Up, Up and Away,” “By The Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman”) wrote the piece en visioning it as a cantata. He thought that The Association would be interested in doing the entire cantata, but they turned it down. Richard Harris recorded it in 1968. The single went to #2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, #1 in Canada and Australia, and #4 in the U.K. The song was also on Harris’ 1968 debut album A Tramp Shining.

Jimmy Webb had a relationship and a breakup with Susie Horton, who later married David Ronstadt, a cousin of singer Linda Ronstadt. Jimmy and Susie would often meet in MacArthur Park in Los Angeles. Webb says that the images used in the song are things he saw in the park. This includes that cake left in the rain, whose recipe, he believes he’ll never find again. Webb met the Irish actor Richard Harris at a fundraiser. The actor had just starred in Camelot and had recorded an album of songs from the show. Harris was intrigued. They recorded him with instrumentation provided by the infamous Wrecking Crew. Hal Blaine (drums), Larry Knechtel (keyboards), Webb (Harpsichord), Joe Osborn (bass guitar), and Tommy Tedesco and Mike Deasy (guitars). Many covers and parodies ensued. There are notable versions by Donna Summer and The Four Tops. Harris went on to other shows, films, and albums. He plays Albus Dumbledore in the two of the Harry Potter movies.

Here are the lyrics to “MarArthur Park” by Richard Harris:

“Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one g 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 noooooo

I recall the yellow cotton dress Foaming like a wave On the ground around your knees 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 noooooo

(Short instrumental interlude)

There would be another song for me
For I will sing it
There would 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
Oh, after all the loves of my life
I’ll be thinking of you – and wondering why

(Longer instrumental interlude)

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 noooooo, o-oh no-ooooo”

Check Out The Groove Pad for More 1960s Music

The Pass the Paisley Groove Pad is a resting stop, a place to chill out and listen to the featured song on the stereo. If the mood strikes you, click on the juke box to access and listen to the 50+ commercial free online songs there. The TV has several channels, with selections updated occasionally. Every now and then, Pass the Paisley hosts an all-request of 1960s and 1970s songs for a Be-In at the juke box in the Groove Pad. Keep on truckin’. Hope you enjoyed “MarArthur Park” by Richard Harris.

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