Saturday, May 16, 2009

MacArthur Park

Our recent comment about generally liking the FIRST version we ever hear of any given song ... regardless of how many OTHER versions may, in fact, exist ... has already inspired a couple of comments from our readers ... here's another one!!!

We tend to favor the versions of songs that we grew up listening to. That's certainly true for me except for one exception. As I learned the true origins of some 60s rock classics, I have since discovered the original blues versions of songs, and I tend to like the simplicity of them. One original worth checking out is Jimmy Webb's version of MacArthur Park. I've only heard it once and found it far better than Richard Harris' over produced take. Forget Donna Summer's cover.

Incredibly for me it was the exact opposite. I never could STAND Richard Harris' over-the-top, over-produced version of this so-called classic (nor will I EVER understand the whole "someone left the cake out in the rain" attraction) ... but, although it goes COMPLETELY against my character, I absolutely LOVED the Donna Summer remake. To MY ears, she completely reinvented the song. (Maybe what I like MOST about it is that it's about as different an interpretation as could possibly be imagined ... kudos to whoever came up with the concept!) As for Jimmy Webb's original version, I'd never heard it before so I couldn't honestly comment ... but we DID find a copy at, so let's leave it to the listeners to decide!!!

We've debated the "cultural value" of "MacArthur Park" many times now in these pages over the past several years ... today we're just going to let the music speak for itself. Suffice to say, the line on this one seems to be pretty well-drawn ... either you LIKE it ... or you HATE it ... there doesn't seem to be ANY middle-ground when it comes to your affection (or lack thereof) for "MacArthur Park"!!!

In keeping with our trend these past few days, we've got another "Triple Play" here for you again today ...

First up, the Jimmy Webb original ... followed up by the #2 Richard Harris Symphonic Version from 1968 ... and then we'll dim all the lights, sweet darlin', and put on the 1978 Donna Summer chart-topping take. Enjoy!