♫ MacArthur Park ♫

I was working on another music post for tonight, but the more I researched the background, the more in-depth it became, and … long story short, I got tired and wanted to go to bed.  So, I’m taking a shortcut (again) and re-posting one of the very first ones I ever posted when I first started my music posts.  In fact, though, for some reason this one has been in my head for several days now anyway.  When last I played this, back in July 2018, Ellen commented that her favourite version is Donna Summer’s.  I still prefer Richard Harris, but hey … I try to please everyone, so tonight I have added Ms. Summer’s version as well.


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/Donna Summer

Spring was never waiting for us, dear
It ran one step ahead
As we followed in the dance

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 beneath your knees
The birds, like tender babies in your hands
And the old men playing Chinese 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

MacArthur’s Park is melting in the dark
All the sweet, green icing flowing down
Someone left my cake out in the rain
And 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

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Jimmy Webb
Macarthur Park lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

21 thoughts on “♫ MacArthur Park ♫

  1. Were I a believer in coincidence, today’s inclusion of Donna Summer’s version would reinforce that belief! Have I ever told you that Donna Summer was one of my Son’s earliest favorite singers? I had kept my first two albums, 1975 “Love to Love You” & 1977 “I Remember Yesterday”, out of the cabinet that held albums that were considered acceptable for his young ears. Then came the late 1979 “On the Radio : Greatest Hits Volumes l & ll” and it somehow was left with the “acceptables”. One day when I was at work he pulled the album out, played the entire thing and he fell in love. I did not know this for months, because he always carefully returned the album to the same place after playing it. Apparently the male head of the household at the time was not paying close enough attention…in fairness there was a 5 month old and a 2 yr.old to take care of too! By the time that I discovered his little secret he could sing every song from beginning to end. From then on we shared our love of Donna. He loved Disco and that boy could dance! Somehow, neither of the girls shared that love. I recall telling you long ago that my favorite version of this song is by Donna Summer. I will share with you a bit of our history that includes this song and it is fitting to the day. Today is, as you may know, National Crayon Day and Donna Summer’s last album was the May 2008 “Crayons”. Son and I love the song by the same name, Benjamin does too! Donna Summer’s last tour was the Crayons Tour also in 2008 on the east coast. As a birthday gift in July 2008, he took me to Boston to attend that concert. Her voice only improved with age, she was still the “Queen of Disco”! It was a very special event as Donna had been born in Boston, Massachusetts in December of 1948. In addition to the songs on the album, Donna also sang some of the best of the oldies…this one included! Both my Son and I were saddened to learn of Donna Summer’s death from lung cancer in May of 2012. No great celebratory day should end without a good quote. “Give crayons. Adults are disturbingly impoverished of these magical dream sticks.” – Dr. SunWolf. I could not agree more! Thank-you!

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    • Wow … this one really brought back the memories … I love the story of your son sneaking to listen to it! How old was he at that time? And, I have to fully agree with the Dr. SunWolf quote … adults think entirely too much “inside the box” and a pack of crayons and some construction paper should be a must! I am sorry not to have done something special for National Crayon Day, but I just got bogged down with the detritus of the moment and could do no more. Happy Belated Crayon Day!

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  2. Jill, great song. We saw Jimmy Webb in a small venue where he was doing a tribute show to Glen Campbell. He wrote “By the time I get to Phoenix,” “Galveston” and “Wichita Lineman” for Campbell along with a few others. He also wrote “Up up and away” for The 5th Dimension. He said he had a crush on lead singer Marilyn McCoo.

    He performed MacArthur Park for us, but his singing voice does not match his songwriting talent. A treat, though, occurred at the end when footage of Glen Campbell playing a guitar solo before the big finish. Campbell could play a mean guitar and was part of the studio band for over 200 records.

    My favorite story he told was how his father, who previously thought he was wasting time, drove over to a 50,000 watt radio station and pleaded they play “By the time I get to Phoenix,” which they did. Campbell was driving at the time and heard the song and said he must record it.

    It is amazing that Richard Harris, the brilliant actor, was the one who recorded the original MacArthur Park. Keith

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    • I LOVE that you always have some personal trivia to add! Your favourite story is indeed awesome! One of those “right place, right time” things that might otherwise have faded into oblivioun. Thanks Keith!

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      • Thanks Jill. The way Webb tells it, there were four or five 50,000 watt stations that could cover a lot of America. So, he asked his father to drive to the one in Kansas City (I think) and the father finagled his way in. It reminds of the Loretta Lynn story in “Coal Miners Daughter.” Keith

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        • Yes, it is reminiscent of Loretta Lynn’s story … and you’ll be surprised to know that I actually saw that movie! Sometimes it takes a bit of chutzpah to get your foot in the door.

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