Thursday, April 23, 2009

My midnight confession.

The first record I ever had? 8th grade, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

The very first record I ever had? 7th grade, Gentle On My Mind, by--that's right!--Glen Campbell.

Today, singing son proposed that he and I write a paper sometime about songs about working people, and he mentioned "Wichita Lineman." Which, the people, I had almost completely forgotten about, but which is a very very very good song. As in, a world class great song.

People who have covered "Wichita Lineman": R.E.M., Keith Urban, Cassandra Wilson, Johnny Cash, James Taylor and Freedy Johnston. (Check out the gorgeous piano playing on this performance Jimmy Webb, the composer, gives.)

But scientists have discovered, after extensive research conducted this afternoon on YouTube, that the best version, the people, remains Glen Campbell's:

Also, Glen was way cute, way back when.


  1. I love this song. I used to only have am radio in my car, so I listened to this mega-oldies station which spanned about 5 decades. I knew all the words to Wichita Lineman, Up, up and Away in My Beautiful Balloon (or whatever it's called), King of the Road and many others. I feel like it was a very important musical education for me.

  2. This is very hypnotizing. I almost fell into the computer listening to it. Between this and the Billy Bragg on the side, I'm entranced.

    word verif: lambst.
    As if I have been labasted.

  3. This song always had such a melancholy power over me. Umph. Still does. Thanks for the youtube hit. Makes me a little discombobulated with nostalgia.

  4. Go Jazz! Okay, I just watched Deron Williams pull us ahead by 2 with seconds left.

    But what I really want to say is that I love this song. Like, it can almost make me cry. I love its lovely melancholy.

  5. Get this. I love this song too. Never heard it until I moved over here...

  6. Like Lis, I grew up in the AM radio era (such nostalgia for my father's ford truck, with those push buttons), and so I know all the words to so many songs I never sing.
    I love this song, and even love James Taylor's version, but I agree that Glenn rules. I stayed in the car not too long ago to listen to it. Maybe on KRCL? In any case, a gem that, yes, can bring me to tears.

  7. The Decemberists allude to "Wichita Lineman" in "The Engine Driver." Jimmy Webb (the songwriter) has had an interesting career to say the least.

    Surely Merle Haggard has to go the working man's song list somewhere?

  8. By the way, "Wichitah Lineman" is a very clever conceit.



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