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Follow up on Grammy nominations: Jimmy Webb's "Do What You Gotta Do" and Kanye West's "Famous"

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The 2018 Grammy nominations are out. Last year, Kanye West's "Famous" was nominated for best rap song.  Approximately 35% of "Famous" is Jimmy Webb's "Do What You Gotta Do".  There are 17 songwriters listed for "Famous", 11 were nominated for the Grammy.  Since Jimmy's song is 35% of  "Famous", that means on average the other songwriters were responsible for about 4% of the song.  Jimmy was denied this nomination because his song was "interpolated". 

As an activist for songwriters/creators, Jimmy and his team appealed to the Grammy's for a rule change to protect and recognize songwriters who find themselves in similar situations – where their work is co-opted but not recognized. 

Here we share with you the proposal that the Webb team of experts painstakingly created, and the response from the Grammy's VP Bill Freimuth and the nomination committee.  

Jimmy asks if you think this is a satisfactory response?

(Click on the buttons below to read Jimmy's proposal and the GRAMMYS response)


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Jimmy on Glen Campbell

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Jimmy on Glen Campbell

DEAR FRIENDS, 

Well, that moment has come that we have known was an inevitable certainty and yet stings like a sudden catastrophe.  Let the world note that a great American influence on pop music, the American Beatle, the secret link between so many artists and records that we can only marvel, has passed and cannot be replaced. He was bountiful.  His was a world of gifts freely exchanged: from Roger Miller stories, to songs from the best writers, to an old Merle Haggard record. My friend, my brother in music, Glen Campbell has passed. 

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He gave me a great wide lens through which to look at music. The cult of The Players? He was at the very center. He loved the Beach Boys and in subtle ways helped mold their sound. He loved Don and Phil, Bill Medley and Bobby Hatfield, Flatt and Scruggs. This was the one great lesson that I learned from him as a kid: Musically speaking-- nothing is out of bounds. Of course, he lavished affection and gifts on his kids, family and friends. His love was a deep mercurial thing and once committed he was a tenacious friend as so many in Nashville and Phoenix, L.A. and New York, compadres all over the world would testify. One of his favorite songs was “Try A Little Kindness” in which he sings “shine your light on everyone you see.” My God. Did he do that or what? Just thinking back I believe suddenly that the “raison d’etre” for every Glen Campbell show was to bring every suffering soul within the sound of his voice up a peg or two. Leave ’em laughin.’ Leave them feeling just a tad better about themselves;  What a majestically graceful and kind, top rate performer was Glen on his worst night!

When it came to friendship Glen was the real deal. He spoke my name from ten thousand stages. He was my big brother, my protector, my co-culprit, my John crying in the wilderness. Nobody liked a Jimmy Webb song as much as Glen! And yet he was generous with other writers: Larry Weiss, Allen Toussaint, John Hartford. You have to look hard for a bad song on a Glen Campbell album. He was giving people their money’s worth before it became fashionable.

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I am full of grief. I am writing because I think you deserve some sort of message from me but I am too upset to write very well or at any great length. It’s like waking up in the morning in some Kafkaesque novella and finding that half of you is missing. Laura and I would call upon you to rest your sympathy with Kim Campbell and her children Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his older children Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren.  Perhaps you could throw in a prayer for the Webb kids, Chris, Justin, Jamie, Corey, Charles and Camila who looked upon him as a kind of wondrous uncle who was a celebrated star and funnier than old dad.

This I can promise.  While I can play a piano he will never be forgotten. And after that someone else will revel in his vast library of recordings and pass them on to how many future generations? Possibly to all of them.


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A Lineman for His Country

Neighbourhood of Sidney Australia features an interview with Jimmy in it's latest issue:

An interview with Jimmy Webb, one of America’s greatest storytellers in music

Text: Roger Norris 

I’m seven years old listening to the radio in my grey school uniform as my mother makes breakfast. Out of the easy listening swamp emerges a fat descending guitar riff, a sweep of strings and a voice like honey and leather. It’s a song about a lovesick lineman in some place called Wichita, and I follow the melody as it dips, rises and leaves with a satellite signal that lingers like indelible morse code.

Almost five decades later I’m inside a cosy diner in Oyster Bay, Long Island talking with the man who conceived that indelible signal while cold rain falls outside.

Jimmy Web has kind, assessing eyes and a genteel timbre in his voice that is both Southern and worldly. His recently published memoir “The Cake and the Rain” follows his journey from rural Oklahoma to the drug fueled LA music scene in the early seventies and his massive success as the writer of iconic songs like ‘MacArthur Park’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’. 

He makes frequent literary and musical references and says he feels like he could have been a film director. He trusts his memory if it plays out in his mind like a video, otherwise it’s not tangible enough to have made it into his book, and I surmise, his songs.

He looks at my voice recorder: “I have one of those. I take it everywhere with me and record all kinds of things –  birds, waterfalls, the wind. The last time I was in Hawaii, I recorded this phenomenon where all these birds gather in one tree and create a cacophony. Thousands of birds yelling at each other. It’s an ornithological ritual of some kind. It builds to an audible climax where it just becomes deafening. I have the sound files and I always think that one of these days I’m going to fold them into a record. I don’t see anything wrong with using all of that stuff. I think it’s anything goes.”

If anything goes, how does he feel about people sampling his songs? Kanye West used a large section of ‘Do What You Gotta Do’ (as performed by Nina Simone in 1968) on the 2016 hit ‘Famous’. Jimmy tells me they didn’t ask permission. Once contacted, Kanye’s people immediately offered him 35% of the proceeds. Then the Grammy’s rolled around and the song had several nominations. Twelve writers were nominated for ‘Famous’ but he was not listed even though technically, he should have been given a third of the credit. “I raised a row about it,” he says. “I’ve always been concerned about the fact that songwriters get the short end of the stick.”

I ask Jimmy if the sense of space in his songs comes from growing up in Oklahoma and Texas. He agrees: “I’m almost claustrophobic. I start feeling hemmed in very quickly. To me, the ocean strikes the same chord in my mind as the high plains of Oklahoma, which are basically flat. The old timers up there say ‘You stand up on this little hill right here. You can see for fifty miles over into New Mexico.’ Well, it’s probably true. You can see a hell of a long way out there.”

“That feeling of boundlessness, I get chills a little bit thinking about it. I think it’s always divided people into two groups. Those that go upon the sea and those that stay on the shore. People don’t go to sea because it’s comfortable. There’s a whole list of reasons not to go. So why do people go? I think it’s for that sense of boundlessness. The spirit is finally free.”

Can songs do that too? “Songs have that power to open things up and one of the secrets is when you’re writing a song and you feel that sudden, ah, this is it. That blooming of emotion. That feeling is transferrable. That’s what a hit is. A hit has an instant viral effect.”

Jimmy Webb believes music has a power that hasn’t been fully explored scientifically. His recent experience with his long-term friend and collaborator Glen Campbell’s descent into Alzheimer’s has only reinforced that: “I know a lot of things about Alzheimer’s that I wish I didn’t know. One of them is that music is the prime mover of the human psyche. A stage 4 Alzheimer’s patient may not be able to remember their mother’s name, may not be able to tell you where they are, but they’ll remember a song after everything else is gone. They’ll remember the lyrics. They’ll remember the melody. They’ll be staring out the window blankly. Then they’ll burst into song. It’s almost shocking.”

Jimmy first heard Glen Campbell’s voice on the radio when he was a teenager. He had a job ploughing fields and would listen to the radio to relieve the tedium. One day a song called ‘Turn Around, Look at Me’ came on and Jimmy was so affected by the singer’s voice that he lost his concentration and drove the plough across the road and into the farmer’s wife’s flowerbed. He lost his job on the spot. That night he prayed that he might one day write a song that Glen Campbell would sing. Four years later years ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ was charting and Jimmy Webb’s star was well and truly on the rise. 

The first time they met Glen told Jimmy to get a haircut. Campbell was politically conservative but Webb embraced hippie culture. With the money earned from songwriting he set up a large house and invited all comers to live there: “I embraced the concept of the commune, with the exception that in my case, I paid for everything. I believed ‘All you need is love’ and I believed in the loaves and the two fishes. I was a Baptist preacher’s son. I believed that maybe we might be able to put an end to war. Maybe we could make the world a better place. I was just trying the dream to see if it would work. Unfortunately, it doesn’t really work, 30 people living in the same house. There comes a time when you go, ‘God I wish I could have one Saturday morning when I could sleep in when there wasn’t someone in my practice room playing my piano.’” 

The night before he wrote ‘Wichita Lineman’ some of these housemates painted his piano green. Glen had called from the studio asking for another “town song” as a follow-up to ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ and when Jimmy set to work in the morning he discovered the piano was still wet. He sweated his way through the song and late in the afternoon sent it over to the studio in an unfinished state “then I went through half a can of turpentine getting the paint off the piano and off me.” A few days later Campbell dropped by with an acetate of ‘Wichita Lineman’. Webb told him the song wasn’t finished. “It is now!” Glen crowed.

Perhaps the song being unfinished gave it a sense of possibility it might otherwise not have had? Jimmy agrees: “My underlying principle is to let songs write themselves. If you’re really forcing yourself to finish a song. If it really feels like hard, hard work, the song is probably telling you it doesn’t want to be written or it doesn’t want to be written the way you’re writing it. I hate to use the word because it’s fraught with cliché but I always thought of songwriting as channeling. Locking in to some fluid source like a surfer looks for the sweet spot on a wave.”

Jimmy Webb’s lyrics are vivid, tender and often heartbreaking. “I’ve always had a tendency to take things more seriously than most people,” he says. “As you become an adult you begin to armor yourself so that it doesn’t affect you, and frankly, I don’t think I was that successful in my twenties and thirties at arming myself. I used to talk to Mr. Sinatra about it and he used to talk about carrying the torch. I was playing him some songs one day and he said ‘You’ve really got it bad kid’. He said ‘I had one of those.’ I think that’s why he ended up recording ‘Didn’t We’. I think that reminded him of one person.”

“Sinatra said to me that ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ was the best saloon song ever written.” Is that a compliment, I ask? “I think in his world that’s the congressional medal of honor,” Jimmy replies.

In the late 60s Webb set up ‘Campo de Encino’ – a large ranch where he again had an open-door policy. The ranch was fitted out with a full recording studio and Webb discovered a few years later that Iggy Pop cooked most of the tracks for one album there. I tell Jimmy that most people wouldn’t put he and Iggy together: “Well they would be wrong!” he says. “I didn’t understand his place in the firmament of rock-n-roll, you know, but I guess I’m just basically a friendly guy. And he was charming as all hell. He was very clever and quick witted and gregarious and he just fit right in.”

Despite his enormous success as a songwriter Webb’s attempts at a solo career in the early 70s never took off. But he doesn’t regret it: “When I declared myself an artist, I did the most brilliant thing that I’d ever done in my life because I set myself free from anyone ever pigeonholing me by saying I was a middle of the road songwriter and relegating me to the dead pool. My instinct was to say I’m an artist, and I make records whether they sell or not. it paid off because I’m still very active, my health is good and my fan base just continues to expand. My audiences are getting bigger and I’m enjoying this late bloom. I think that too much success can be a real assassin of ambition. 

He tells me about the other projects he’s been working on: “I just wrote a concerto for piano and orchestra that’s been received really well. I did it while I was writing the book. It’s called ‘For Lefty’. It’s proper classical name is ‘Nocturne for Piano and Orchestra’. The piece was premiered by Orchestra Kentucky. I’ve always wanted to write a concerto for electric guitar. And I’m very, very interested in film.” He’s up for his next memoir too: “I think Volume 2 would be better than Volume 1..”

The week before we met, I attended ‘A Celebration of Jimmy Webb’ –  a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall for Alzheimers and the I’ll Be Me Foundation. The breadth of his appeal was apparent from the all-star cast: Judy Collins opened with “The Moon’s a Harsh Mistress”, Johnny Rivers performed “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, Dwight Yoakam did a rocking “Wichita Lineman”. The last song of the night was Amy Grant singing “Adios”. It’s also the bittersweet title song of Glen Campbell’s new, and final, album. When she first came on stage, Grant looked over and said, “There are so many goodbyes in your songs, Jimmy.” It was a deeply true observation, though I felt it was true as much because Jimmy Webb has always been leaving in search of “that sense of boundlessness, where the spirit is finally free.”

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An Evening with Jimmy Webb Australian Tour Announced

“Few singers blend grit and grandeur like Jimmy Webb… [his] voice is like an old Mustang heading through a treacherous yet often gorgeous landscape.”
— ROLLING STONE 

America’s greatest living songwriter, Jimmy Webb, is making his way to our shores in June and will see him perform in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne & Perth.  The composer and singer, known worldwide as a master of his trade, will perform his catalogue of hits to Australian audiences.

A true living legend of songwriting, Jimmy Webb has been crafting amazing songs, many of which have become cherished standards for some forty years. And he’s still doing it. His platinum selling songs and classics include: “Wichita Lineman,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” “Galveston,” “The Moon’s A Harsh Mistress,” “All I Know,” “The Highwayman,” “Up, Up and Away,” “MacArthur Park,” - and that’s just for starters . Webb is one of those rare songwriters who manages to bring a genuine measure of magic to everything he touches.

During his storied career, Jimmy has received every major award a songwriter can get; including three Grammy Awards, the Academy of Country Music’s Poet Award and PRS for Music Special International Award at the prestigious Ivor Norvello Awards in 2012.   His songs have been recorded or performed by many of the best in the business including Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Judy Collins, Isaac Hayes, Art Garfunkel, Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, R.E.M., Michael Feinstein and Carly Simon.  Glen Campbell, has recorded the largest number of Jimmy's hits and this is a partnership that is one of the most famous in the music business.  Donna Summer recorded a disco version of “MacArthur Park” in 1978 and it went to No. 1 in Australia after it was released as a single.  According to BMI, his song” By the Time I Get to Phoenix" was the third most performed song in the 50 years between 1940 to 1990.  Jimmy Webb was the youngest man ever inducted into the National Songwriters’ Hall of Fame and he is dedicated to the preserving the rights and the craft of the songwriter.

In this very special and intimate evening, Jimmy will not only bring fans of his music a unique connection to their favourite songs on his piano, he will also reveal the stories behind his hits and a career trajectory that took a teen preacher’s son from a farm town in Oklahoma to the top of his longed-for profession, with pitfalls and blessings in equal measure between.  Webb’s much anticipated Memoir, The Cake and The Rain, will be released in April 2017.

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"A Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb: The Cake and the Rain" Confirmed for Carnegie Hall, May 3

TRIBUTE TO GRAMMY-WINNING ARTIST FEATURES ART GARFUNKEL, MARILYN MCCOO & BILLY DAVIS JR. OF FIFTH DIMENSION, JOHNNY RIVERS, DWIGHT YOAKAM AND MORE PERFORMING “WICHITA LINEMAN,” “BY THE TIME I GET TO PHOENIX,” “UP, UP AND AWAY” AND OTHER SELECTIONS FROM JIMMY’S EXTENSIVE CATALOG

WEBB'S NEW MEMOIR, THE CAKE AND THE RAIN, SET FOR PUBLICATION THROUGH ST. MARTIN'S PRESS ON APRIL 18

“America’s Songwriter” Jimmy Webb will be honored with a special tribute show at Carnegie Hall on May 3rd. Presented by City Winery, the event will celebrate Webb’s singular legacy and his timeless hit songs, including “Wichita Lineman,” “MacArthur Park,” “Galveston,” “Didn’t We,” and “All I Know.” 

A Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb: The Cake and the Rain features a stellar initial lineup of artists, many of whom have personal ties to the songwriter: Ashley Campbell (daughter of Glen Campbell), Judy Collins, Billy Davis Jr. and Marilyn McCoo of the Fifth Dimension, Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant, Toby Keith, Johnny Rivers and Dwight Yoakam are all confirmed to perform with more artists to be announced soon.  Webb himself will be performing at the event, as well. Proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association and the I’ll Be Me Foundation in honor of Jimmy’s dear friend Glen Campbell. 

The tribute event coincides with two milestones: Jimmy’s new memoir, The Cake and The Rain, set for publication on April 18 through St. Martin’s Press, and the upcoming 50th Anniversary of “Wichita Lineman”. The Cake and the Rain is written as powerfully as his lyrics and provides a snapshot of Webb’s unlikely rise in the 60s, whipsawed from the proverbial humble beginnings into a moneyed and manic international world of beautiful women, drugs, cars and planes.

Jimmy Webb’s songs have topped the charts in multiple genres with a stunning array of artists, including Frank Sinatra, Glen Campbell, Linda Ronstadt, Joe Cocker, Barbra Streisand, The Supremes, Donna Summer, Richard Harris, Nina Simone, and many more. His numerous accolades include the prestigious Ivor Novello International Award (2012) and the Academy of Country Music’s Poet Award (2016). He received his first gold record at the age of 18 and was the youngest inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His diverse songwriting style was especially apparent in 2016 when he premiered his classical piece “Nocturne for Lefty” and had his music featured prominently on Kanye West’s Grammy-nominated “Famous”. From the first crossover country pop hit with Glenn Campbell, to a number one disco hit with Donna Summer, to a Grammy-nominated rap song, Webb remains the only writer to receive Grammys across writing, music, and orchestration.

Webb’s first book, Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting, is considered a “bible” among professional musicians and college students. He has time and again paved the way for songwriters in the ever-changing media landscape, and spearheaded an ongoing effort to preserve the rights of songwriters as the former Chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and long-time Board Member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Webb has released ten solo albums since the 1970s, while continuing to write for other artists. 2010’s 'Just Across the River' features duets on some of his biggest songs with friends Billy Joel, Jackson Browne, Vince Gill, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, JD Souther, and Glen Campbell plus Lucinda Williams, Michael McDonald and Mark Knopfler.  A follow up featuring Brian Wilson, Art Garfunkel, David Crosby, Graham Nash, Lyle Lovett, Carly Simon, Keith Urban, and more was released in Fall 2013.

A Celebration of the Music of Jimmy Webb: The Cake and the Rain will be presented by Michael Dorf, founder of City Winery, known for his annual “Music Of” tribute series at Carnegie Hall, which has raised over $1.3 million for music education programs in New York City. Dorf is uniquely suited to create the impressive and eclectic rosters he assembles each year as a founder of two seminal NYC music venues: the Knitting Factory, which he started in 1987 and sold in 2002, and City Winery, the venue he founded in 2008 in NYC, that now has locations in Chicago, Nashville, Atlanta and Boston.  For nearly thirty years, he has programmed for stages across the globe.

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Bruce Springsteen Cites Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell as Influences on New Album

The New Vanity Fair cover story features Bruce Springsteen talking about his upcoming book and coming to terms with his life. In the article, Springsteen talks about a new album that will be released after his busy book and touring schedule. He also talks about the album's influence:

“It’s a solo record, more of a singer-songwriter kind of record,” he said. Intriguingly, though, it does not follow in the spare, acoustic tradition of such previous solo albums as Nebraska, The Ghost of Tom Joad, and Devils & Dust. Rather, it’s inspired by a recent immersion in the 60s collaborations of the songwriter Jimmy Webb and the singer Glen Campbell, “pop records with a lot of strings and instrumentation,” he said. “So the record is somewhat in that vein.” That’s as much as he’ll reveal at the moment.

Read the complete article at Vanity Fair

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Jimmy to Begin Historic UK and Ireland Tour September 9

Jimmy will be touring the UK from September 9 – 25 in what promise to be historic performances. The first show will be a technological breakthrough: a live streaming performance at The Convent in Stroud will enable fans to purchase tickets to view on their computers and mobile devices, while tickets will be available at the venue for the live performance.

Jimmy will also perform at legendary venues including Cadogan Hall in London, The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, Carnegie Hall in Dunfermline, Royal Concert Hall in Glasgow, the Apex in Bury St. Edmunds and Milton Keynes in the Stables. Jimmy will also perform a special show at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland.

Don't miss this very special opportunity to see Jimmy Webb live in the UK and Ireland. Click the button below to visit the Tour page, including all tour dates.

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Jimmy Webb is returning to MacArthur Park on July 9 to sing 'MacArthur Park'

The Los Angeles Times
July 6, 2016

It’s time to whip up another batch of sweet green icing: Songwriter Jimmy Webb will return to Los Angeles for a performance July 9 at MacArthur Park, where he will sing his iconic 1968 ballad “MacArthur Park” in the place that inspired him to write it.

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

It will be just the second time he has sung the song in the mid-city park. It’s a locale he spent time in while he was still a struggling songwriter trying to carve out a career in the music business after moving to Southern California from his native Oklahoma.

Whiling away time in MacArthur Park, as a break from what he called the “dreariness of a really bottom-scale apartment” he was renting in Silver Lake, put him front and center to images he immortalized in the song. It became an international hit through actor Richard Harris’ sung-spoken recording that ran more than seven minutes.

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Jimmy to Receive Academy of Country Special Award

The Academy of Country Music announced today the Special Awards, Studio Recording Awards and Songwriter of the Year Award winners for the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards.

Honorees and winners will be celebrated during the 10th Annual ACM Honors, an evening dedicated to recognizing the special honorees and off-camera category winners from the 51st Academy of Country Music Awards.  The event will take place in the fall at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

 This year's honorees includes Oklahoma natives Carrie Underwood and Jimmy Webb.

The Academy of Country Music Special Awards are voted on by the ACM Board of Directors for specific achievements. The Studio Recording and Songwriter of the Year Awards are voted on by specific categories of the Academy’s professional membership.

Here's what the ACM says about Jimmy:

Poet’s Award – Eddie Rabbitt (awarded posthumously) and Jimmy Webb

The late Eddie Rabbitt and Elk City nativeJimmy Webb have been chosen to receive the Poet’s Award, which honors songwriters for outstanding musical and/or lyrical contributions throughout their careers in the field of country music.

Rabbitt scored country/pop crossover success starting in 1979 with hits "I Love a Rainy Night,” "Drivin' My Life Away,” "Every Which Way But Loose” and “Suspicions.” His career began in the late 1960s as a professional songwriter who penned Elvis Presley’s "Kentucky Rain" and Ronnie Milsap’s "Pure Love.” While working to build his career as an artist, Rabbitt opened for Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Rabbitt also recorded duets with Juice Newton (“Both to Each Other (Friends and Lovers)”) and fellow 2016 ACM honoree Crystal Gayle (“You and I”). Rabbitt is an ACM Award winner and Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee. He died May 7, 1998 at age 56.

Webb's remarkable career began in 1965, crossing numerous genres and sales milestones. He is the pen behind platinum-selling classics recorded by multiple artists. "Up, Up and Away” was recorded by The 5th Dimension, Nancy Sinatra and Diana Ross & The Supremes. “MacArthur Park” was recorded by Waylon Jennings, Dionne Warwick, Donna Summer and Glen Campbell.

Webb and fellow 2016 ACM Special Award honoree Campbell had a particularly fruitful professional relationship, resulting in the hits "Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” "By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and others. Among the stellar artists who have recorded or performed Webb’s compositions are Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Judy Collins, Isaac Hayes, Art Garfunkel, Linda Ronstadt and Carly Simon. Webb is a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York, and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. More than 50 years into his career, Webb still performs regularly.

Previous recipients of the Poet’s Award include Bill Anderson, Bobby Braddock, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant, Guy Clark, Jack Clement, Hank Cochran, Dean Dillon, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Bob McDill, Roger Miller, Buck Owens, Fred Rose, Don Schlitz, Cindy Walker and Hank Williams.

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Legendary Songwriter Jimmy Webb Returns to Boise

FANS INVITED TO SUBMIT SONGS FOR  “HITS AND REQUESTS” CONCERT

  • Wednesday, April 6, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.
  • The Sapphire Room at the Riverside Hotel

With 50 years of hit songs, Hall of Fame songwriter Jimmy Webb has plenty of songs to choose from for his current tour, as he pulls from the iconic music made famous by such diverse artists as Linda Ronstadt, Art Garfunkel, Donna Summer, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge.  For his April 6 return to The Sapphire Room at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Webb is turning it over to the audience to choose the set list.   

Webb’s post-concert conversations with fans – which can last as long as the shows – often focus on the songs they want to hear him play beyond the big Billboard hits like “Wichita Lineman,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “MacArthur Park.”

“Meeting the fans in person and reading their comments on Facebook, seeing and hearing what they care about, for me, as a songwriter, is the truth--the emotion, the connection the feeds my creativity,” says Webb.  “There is an overwhelming demand to perform songs that are off the beaten path. And it’s fun for me to play these songs and break the routine.” 

Perhaps this show will feature the Fifth Dimension-recorded “Paper Cup” instead of “Up, Up and Away;” one any of the many songs Michael Feinstein consistently interprets – “She Moves, Eyes Follow” or “Only One Life;” an alternate song from Richard Harris’ debut produced/written/arranged by Webb, A Tramp Shining, beyond “Didn’t We” and “MacArthur Park;” or if the fans demand it, the difficult “Still Within the Sound of My Voice,” sung so spectacularly by Linda Ronstadt.   Of course, Webb won’t leave out all the expected songs – just mixing it up a little for the legions of “Webb Heads,” many who travel in from out of state or out of the U.S. for the songwriter’s shows.

Fans can submit requests for the concert below or on Jimmy's Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/JimmyWebbMusic 

Each night during his live shows, whatever the set list, Webb reminds audiences why this preacher’s son from Oklahoma has been a hit maker since the age of 16 and a beacon through five generations of the Great American Songbook.  Webb enhances his virtuoso performance of iconic tunes with riveting tales of the inspiration behind some of pop music’s biggest songs and singers, and a humorous tour into the days and nights of a songwriting prodigy.  It’s more than a concert – the show is like a master class, a fascinating “all-access pass” to the songwriting process and the music industry.  

Tickets: $35, $45 - available at 208.383.0200 or www.americanamusicseries.net.

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Jimmy Offers Fans Input on Set List for "Hits and Requests" Concert

Friday, October 23 at 8 pm at The Cutting Room, NYC Saturday, October 24 at 7:30 pm at The Towne Crier Café, Beacon NY 

With 50 years of hit songs, Hall of Fame songwriter Jimmy Webb has plenty of songs to choose from for his current tour, as he pulls from the iconic music made famous by such diverse artists as Linda Ronstadt, Art Garfunkel, Donna Summer, Glen Campbell, and Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge.  For his two October New York shows, Friday, October 23 at The Cutting Room (http://thecuttingroomnyc.com) and Saturday, October 24 at the Towne Crier Café (http://www.townecrier.com) Webb is turning it over to the audience to choose the set list. 

Webb’s post-concert conversations with fans – which can last as long as the shows – often focus on the songs they want to hear him play beyond the big Billboard hits like “Wichita Lineman,” “By The Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “MacArthur Park.”

“Meeting the fans in person and reading their comments on Facebook, seeing and hearing what they care about, for me, as a songwriter, is the truth--the emotion, the connection the feeds my creativity,” says Webb.  “There is an overwhelming demand to perform songs that are off the beaten path. And it’s fun for me to play these songs and break the routine.” 

Perhaps this show will feature the Fifth Dimension-recorded “Paper Cup” instead of “Up, Up and Away;” one any of the many songs Michael Feinstein consistently interprets – “She Moves, Eyes Follow” or “Only One Life;” an alternate song from Richard Harris’ debut produced/written/arranged by Webb, A Tramp Shining, beyond “Didn’t We” and “MacArthur Park;” or if the fans demand it, the difficult “Still Within the Sound of My Voice,” sung so spectacularly by Linda Ronstadt.   Of course, Webb won’t leave out all the expected songs – just mixing it up a little for the legions of “Webb Heads,” many who travel in from out of state or out of the U.S. for the songwriter’s shows.

Fans can submit requests for the October 23rd and 24th shows at https://www.facebook.com/JimmyWebbMusic or http://www.jimmywebb.com/.  Submissions must be received by October 17, 2015 to be considered for the concerts.

Each night during his live shows, whatever the set list, Webb reminds audiences why this preacher’s son from Oklahoma has been a hit maker since the age of 16 and a beacon through five generations of the Great American Songbook. Webb enhances his virtuoso performance of iconic tunes with riveting tales of the inspiration behind some of pop music’s biggest songs and singers, and a humorous tour into the days and nights of a songwriting prodigy.  It’s more than a concert – the show is like a master class, a fascinating “all-access pass” to the songwriting process and the music industry.

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Jimmy Webb – The Glen Campbell Years

From the Delaware Public Media, read and listen to Jimmy's interview about "The Glen Campbell Years."

Songwriter Jimmy Webb has had many chart topping hits, spanning a wide variety of musical genres. He received his first gold record at age 18, was the National Songwriter Hall of Fame's youngest ever inductee and the only artist ever to receive Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration.

But perhaps Webb's most enduring legacy is his musical partnership with Glen Campbell. The two musicians worked on over one hundred recordings together beginning with “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” which won two Grammy awards. But at the time, the two had never met in person. Webb says that happened a couple of years later at a recording studio in L.A.

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Jimmy Webb review – hallowed pop classics and elaborate yarns

The master songwriter interweaves his version of tracks such as MacArthur Park and Wichita Lineman with tales of life with Richard Harris and Glen Campbell

The Guardian
By Dave Simpson
Photograph: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images

Jimmy Webb is remembering how, aged 14, he heard Glen Campbell’s Turn Around, Look at Me on the radio and begged his father for a dollar to buy the record. Shortly afterwards, when he started writing songs, the youngster would pray “to write a song as good as that and meet someone like Glen Campbell who can sing it”. Fatefully, of course, he met the man himself, and Campbell’s performances of Webb’s Galveston and By the Time I Get to Phoenix are among pop’s most hallowed recordings.

Perhaps had Webb’s songs not been sung by some of the greatest voices of the 20th century, including Frank Sinatra, he’d be recognised as a singer too. Here, performing his classics at a grand piano, he can’t reach the highest notes but gives the songs the loving care a father reserves for his children.

The evening rollercoasters between classics and elaborate yarns. There’s the one about how a radio station stopped playing Fifth Dimenson hit Up, Up and Away, thinking it was about drugs, not balloons. Webb’s father marched on the building clutching “a .45 and a Bible”. When Webb was demonstrating songs for the “notoriously finicky” Art Garfunkel – who became a lifelong friend – he was asked for “something more yellow” and handed over All I Know. Tales of Herculean drinking sessions with the actor Richard Harris abound – before Webb delivers a stunning rendition of their orchestral epic MacArthur Park.

There’s a moving moment when Webb talks about Campbell’s struggle with Alzheimer’s – and how, recently, when the fading country star accidentally sang Wichita Lineman twice, the audience shouted, “Again.” After Webb’s own beautiful rendition of the song, a punter shouts, “Again!” The stories come so thick and fast that Webb only manages seven songs in 90 minutes. But what wonderful songs they are.

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Jimmy Webb shares the stories behind his songs

CLEVELAND.COM
By Chuck Yarborough, The Plain Dealer

CLEVELAND, Ohio – It would be too simple to say that songwriter Jimmy Webb gave us the VH-1 "Behind the Song'' stories of hits like "Wichita Lineman,'' "Galveston,'' "Didn't We'' and "MacArthur Park'' Saturday night. Oh, the affable Oklahoma native did tell a packed Music Box Supper Club the backstories of those four and four others - "By the Time I Get to Phoenix,'' "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress,'' "Up, Up and Away and "The Highwayman.''

PHOTO: CLEVELAND.COM

PHOTO: CLEVELAND.COM

But what we got was so much more than just the origins of the songs that Glen Campbell, Frank Sinatra, Judy Collins, the Fifth Dimension, Richard Harris and scores of other artists turned into megahits.

For ninety fascinating minutes, intentionally or not, the Grammy winner revealed himself through sometimes funny, sometimes poignant and always entertaining stories that were only tangentially about the songs.

Yeah, sure, the history was there. "Galveston'' is about a Texan who gets sent to Vietnam. Johnny Rivers was a typical boss, making what seems on the surface to be unreasonable requests just before going on vacation. Campbell recorded 120 Webb songs. Collins rescued "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress'' from the scrap heap. Sinatra – MISTER Sinatra – was as good at yanking a chain as he was at dooby-dooby-doing.

All that stuff was fascinating. But really, some or all of the information is available through Google.

What's not there - or on Wikipedia, allmusic.com or any other website - is what turned a cotton-pickin' Oklahoma plowboy whose dad was a Bible-thumping, gun-toting, telepathic Baptist preacher into one of the most prolific and gifted songwriters of his generation.

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Jimmy Comments on the Passing of Joe Cocker

For a number of reasons, the news of Joe Cocker's passing is one of the most personally devastating events of this year – or any year. 

Joe attended my first marriage ceremony when I was in my 20s – and I was with him in an LA studio not too long ago where we were working on a track.

I loved him musically because he drew no artificial boundaries between pop and rock.  He made me feel comfortable in his world. He was a loving guy who has been – contrary to his image – sober for most of his life. He was devoted to simply reaching out and helping others. 

It was  a great honor for Joe to record "The Moon is a Harsh Mistress" on his album I Can Stand a Little Rain (1974), produced by Jim Price and again on my most recent cd "Still Within the Sound of My Voice" produced by Fred Mollin in 2012.

When we were last in the studio, it was incredible to watch him sing – he felt each note of the music – he gesticulated each note.  The song may have started with his voice but it moved through him to the tips of his fingers. 

Time spent with him was always relaxed and enjoyable and to say he will be missed doesn't seem to carry the necessary sense of his importance in my life and in the world of music.  But 'he will be missed.'

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"MacArthur Park Night" on the Late Show with David Letterman

The Late Show with David Letterman called it "MacArthur Night" last night, as a spectacular version of Jimmy Webb's classic song was performed in its six-minute entirety — by the CBS Orchestra, led by “Late Show” band leader Paul Schaffer, with Webb playing the harpsichord. Shaffer, Will Lee (on vocals), Webb et al. will be assisted by an additional 23 musicians, including a bevy of string players. Webb is also known for penning “Worst That Could Happen” as well as “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” — both recorded by Glen Campbell.

The song, famously recorded in 1968 by actor Richard Harris, has been covered by everyone from Carrie Underwood to Weird Al Yankovic to Donna Summer, who did a chart-topping disco version in 1978.

"If you missed this performance on Monday night’s “Late Show With David Letterman,” carve 6 minutes out of your day and take in a version of “MacArthur Park” that even Donna Summer, Waylon Jennings and Wayne Newton would have to admit may well be the best performance of the Jimmy Webb classic ever–from the orchestration to Will Lee’s vocals.

The cherry on top? Check out who’s playing keyboard and piano with Paul Shaffer–Mr. Webb himself."
– The Blaze

Paul Shaffer, Jimmy Webb, Will Lee and the CBS Orchestra blow the roof off with a performance of "MacArthur Park."

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Jimmy Webb Tune Will Take Another Turn on ‘Late Show’

‘Someone left the cake out in the rain” …

The long, varied history of Jimmy Webb’s tune “MacArthur Park” will take yet another turn on this Monday’s “Late Show with David Letterman.”

The song, famously recorded in 1968 by actor Richard Harris, has been covered by everyone from Carrie Underwood to Weird Al Yankovic to Donna Summer, who did a chart-topping disco version in 1978.

On Monday’s “Late Show” (11:35 p.m./Ch. 2), “MacArthur Park” will be performed — in its six-minute entirety — by the CBS Orchestra, led by “Late Show” band leader Paul Schaffer, with Webb playing the harpsichord. Shaffer, Will Lee (on vocals), Webb et al. will be assisted by an additional 23 musicians, including a bevy of string players. Webb is also known for penning “Worst That Could Happen” as well as “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” — both recorded by Glen Campbell.

Trivia fact: Harris talked about his recording of “MacArthur Park” as one of the last guests on Johnny Carson’s “Tonight Show” in 1992.

– Michael Starr, The New York Post

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100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time

From Rolling Stone: 16. Glen Campbell, 'Witchita Lineman' (1968)

The romantic story about "Wichita Lineman" is that Jimmy Webb wrote it after seeing a lonely guy working at the top of a telephone pole while driving through the voids of rural Oklahoma. The truth is that Webb's last song for Glen Campbell, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," had been a hit, and Capitol Records had called to demand more. "I really sat down to write something that would please them mostly," Webb confessed to the Dallas Observer in 2006. The sound – a haze of soapy violins and expensive chord changes – had more to do with the onset of soft rock than the rudiments of country, but the subject matter was a new spin on an old story. Country calls it individualism; Webb called it loneliness.
– By Mike Powell

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Jimmy Webb at the Iridium

I will be able to say I saw Jimmy Webb sitting at a Steinway, on the Iridium stage, performing his songs. Words and Music that are embedded in the musical soul of our country, and will be played for generations to come.

One of the reasons I love going to cabaret is the anticipation of which of my emotional dials will the performer turn on, and to what level will they take me. Romance, excitement, melancholy, nervousness, restlessness, respectful envy, admiration, and a bunch of others. Then there is Reverence! That only happens when I’m in the presence of someone who I know has created melodies, harmonies, and words that will live forever. Jimmy Webb is in that category.  To hear the composer sing and play his songs is always something special, and to hear the songs of Jimmy Webb performed by Jimmy Webb is a momentous experience.  I hope it’s not too over the top to say, but for the non music lovers out there, I can only compare it to hearing Thomas Jefferson reading the Declaration of Independence, or Abraham Lincoln reading the Gettysburg Address. They actually wrote that stuff and they are performing it for me!

Jimmy sings them all, “Up, Up and Away,” “Wichita Lineman,” “MacArthur Park,” “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and more!  And all the while, Jimmy, in a low key polite mid western personality casually tells you stories about his friends, Waylon (Jennings), Glen (Cambell), Richard (Harris), Art,(Garfunkel), Joe (Cocker), and more!

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Jimmy Featured on BBC's "Loose Ends"

Jimmy Webb

Jimmy's new ‘Still Within the Sound of My Voice’ was released on Monday November 4 in the UK. Jimmy flew out for the occasion and did a number of press appearances as well as performing a few special dates. Jimmy was featured on BBC's "Loose Ends" and talked about the new album and his career. In addition, Jimmy backs singer Glen Tilbrook on the classic "Wichita Lineman."

Listen to Jimmy on the BBC's "Loose Ends" (Jimmy's interview starts at 32 minutes).

 

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