Glen Campbell - By The Time I Get To Phoenix
I could stand here (my computer chair was stolen by gypsys) and talk about Glen Campbell; touring member of the 60’s Beach Boys (even recorded on Pet Sounds, filling in for the pudgy and paranoid BWillz), session musician in Phil Spector’s revolving stable, his torrid romance with Tanya Tucker, his arrests, his love of cocaine, his tragic yet beautiful fall from grace and continuing claw back upwards, but fuck all that. Jimmy Webb, the songwriter behind this among countless other gems, is playing in a 200-seat establishment, in my port of call, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, tomorrow night - so you’ll forgive me if I use way more commas than is generally considered correct, as I just shat your pants.
For the uninitiated, Jimmy Webb is Western civilization’s preeminent songwriter. Usually, one would qualify this with modifiers such as ‘in my opinion’ or ‘among the’. Anyhow, fuck those poindexters. Good songwriting is about evoking whole worlds within the listener’s imagination while using as few words as possible, and repeating these words 3 times, and cocaine. What took Joseph Conrad 10,000 words to say, Jimmy Webb can vomit forth in 200.
Jimmy Webb has seen a lot of love here, and “Phoenix” isn’t the best song he’s written, by a stretch - that honour belongs to “Requiem 820 Latham”, the best song anybody’s ever written about anything. That said, this guy has so many aural arrows in his quiver that we could easily spin this off into another blog, a 227 to Deadly Death’s Jeffersons, The Worldwide Jimmy Webb. Okay, forgive me. I’m excited.
Jimmy Webb. Not pictured: holy fuck.