Los Angeles Times: As 'MacArthur Park' turns 45, Jimmy Webb will play it in that park

Jimmy Webb wrote the odd 1960s hit 'MacArthur Park,' recorded by Richard Harris. He has a sense of humor about it. And yes, he saw a cake left out in the rain.

Jimmy Webb L.A. Times

Before becoming a widely lauded songwriter, Jimmy Webb was just another aspiring musician living in a dingy Los Angeles apartment.

The Oklahoma transplant would wander from his low-rent flat in Silver Lake to a place that would inspire one of his most indelible hits, MacArthur Park. There, between Wilshire and 7th, he'd wait for his girlfriend to get off work from her job nearby.

"I used to eat lunch in the park," said Webb, 66. "It was a place you could be away from the dreariness of a really bottom-scale apartment."

The scenes he saw there day after day inspired him to write "MacArthur Park," the unlikely 1968 hit single sung by actor Richard Harris.

Now, 45 years after the location he immortalized became an unlikely pop-culture touchstone, Webb will sing "MacArthur Park" in MacArthur Park on Saturday to kick off a summer concert series. It's a first for Webb, who's never performed the song at its namesake location.

"MacArthur Park was — perhaps I'm painting it with the brush of nostalgia — a kind and gentle place," Webb said. 

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