MacArthur Park

This one should be familiar to those of my generation both in the U.S. and across the pond, for in 1968 it hit #2 on the U.S. charts and #4 in the UK.  It reached the #1 spot in both Australia and Canada, however. Others have recorded this song, including country singer Waylon Jennings and Donna Summer, but I’ve always been partial to the Richard Harris version.  Not the most cheerful song, perhaps, but it suits my mood tonight … ♫ Someone left the cake out in the rain ♫  …  just be thankful you don’t have to listen to me singing it!

MacArthur Park
Richard Harris
Spring was never waiting for us, girl
It ran one 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 no!
I recall the yellow cotton dress
Foaming like a wave
On the ground around your knees
The 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 no!
There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will 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
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 no!
Oh no
No
Oh no!
Songwriters: Adrian Drover / Jimmy Webb
MacArthur Park lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

30 thoughts on “MacArthur Park

  1. One of my top ten records of all time. Donna Summer did it? Why, she had no passion in her voice, as far as I was concerned. But who knows, each to their own…
    However, I don’t remember the song being 7 minutes long. I think the Canadian radio stations killed it after about 5 minutes. But what’s up with dissing “Hey Jude”. Along with yesterday it was one of Paul McCartney’s better songs, I thought. John never hit his peak till he was away from the Beatles. George? Everything he did was great, from Taxman to Something to the whole ALL THINGS MUST PASS album. Then with The Travelling Wilburys, just amazing.
    A lot of people tell me the Beatles weren’t as good as they were made out to be. No, they were better, IMO. There was so much much talent wrapped up in them and George Martin they could have ruled the radio waves for ages. But they needed to break up to hit their solo peaks.
    Now you probably think I love the Beatles above all else, but they could never top most of the bands Eric Burdon fronted. He was a real entertainer, with a voice to kill for. Still is, as a matter of fact. He recently did a version of For What It’s Worth that’s on his website, ericburdon.com. he is in his 70s, and he is still as great as ever. But then, I’m biased.

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    • I didn’t realize that Donna Summer had done it, either, until I was looking for the version I posted here, and saw that she and several others had done it. According to Ellen, Donna Summer’s version was a huge hit … don’t know how I missed that! I wasn’t dissing the entire song, Hey Jude, but rather it’s length and all the na na na na’s for the last 4 minutes or so. The first 4 minutes I like just fine. I liked most of the Beatles’ early work, but toward the end, I wasn’t as crazy about them. Songs like Yellow Submarine just didn’t do much for me. I’ll check out the Animals website … as with the Beatles, I liked some, but not all of their music.

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    • Hah! You should have had somebody make a video of you singing karaoke … I would have loved to see/hear that! I cannot even stand to hear myself sing, and for most of my life I refused to even sing in the shower. But then, at some point, I decided … “what the heck?” … and now I sing when and where I want to, even occasionally belting out a tune in the middle of the grocery! It keeps the aisles clear so I don’t have to deal with a crowd. 😉 Yes, I’m sure you do dance like Fred Astaire! I haven’t danced for decades, so I don’t know if I still dance like Ginger Rogers or not.
      Many hugs!!! ❤

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  2. I loved Richard Harris. He was Irish! What’s not to love??? 😉 What’s your favorite movie of his? I’d have to choose between Camelot and A Man Called Horse. How’s that for both ends of the spectrum? 😀

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  3. Jill, my wife and I saw Jimmy Webb in a small venue. He was doing a tribute to Glen Campbell, for whom he wrote what Campbell called his geography songs – “By the time I get to Phoenix,” “Galveston,” and “Wichita Lineman.” He also had a crush on Marilyn McCoo of the 5th Dimensions and wrote “Up, up and away oh my beautiful ballon.” One of my favorite of his was recorded by Art Garfunkel, “That’s all I know.”

    When I told my kids the first Professor Dumbledore had a hit record called “MacArthur Park,”, they don’t believe me. When Webb played it for us, he showed Glen Campbell doing a guitar solo in the middle – people did not realize Campbell was a great session guitarist who played on a lot of records.

    I will give Donna Sumner a thumbs up, but the original is still the go to version as it caused people to stop and listen. Thanks for the memory. Keith

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    • Thanks Keith! I did not know that Jimmy Webb had written Campbell’s ‘geography’ songs. McArthur’s Park was originally written for The Association, but they didn’t want it once written. Ellen tells me that she prefers the Donna Summer version which I cannot recall ever hearing, though I likely did at some point. And when you mentioned Simon & Garfunkel, you gave me my idea for tonight’s song! Stay tuned … Thanks!!!

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      • Jill, the man confesses to not be able to sing a lick, but he sure can write songs. He told the story of how his Dad was not very interested in his career choice until he asked for help. His Dad drove to one of the five largest radio stations nearby in Oklahoma and made sure they played his boy’s song. It was “By the time I get to Phoenix.” Glen Campbell heard it and asked if he could record it. The rest is history. I love that his Dad said he was not leaving until they played the song. Keith

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  4. In my, not so humble, opinion…Donna Summer owns this song! That recording was #1 for weeks! I remember this Richard Harris version from 1968 and wasn’t too thrilled. Although the story behind the song, Jimmy Webb and his girlfriend’s dates in MacArthur Park and then their break-up being the inspiration, was touching. Now, I feel the need to hear Donna Summer sing it! Thank-you!

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    • Well now I will just have to go listen to the Donna Summer version! I honestly don’t recall ever hearing hers, though I have heard Glen Campbell’s and while his is good, I still like Richard Harris best. Something about his voice … 😉

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