Inexplicably Awesome: MacArthur Park

I love this song, but it annoys me as well. Love affair, schmove affair Jimmy Webb: wtf is going on with these lyrics?

I love the little detail that Richard Harris kept on saying “MacArthur’s Park” instead of “MacArthur Park” until Jimmy Webb just gave up on correcting him.

This Donna Summers cover version came on while I was getting the kids from A to B last week, and I said to them: you can have Macca’s for dinner if you can explain this song to me. They were wtf-laughing so hard that they didn’t even mind not cashing in.

Donna says “MacArthur’s” too. Terrible confession – they asked me who was singing and I told them about Disco Diva Donna, then started telling them about the prior Richard Harris version, they said “who?”, and I forgot that he was Dumbledore – that would have blown their minds.

I am devastated to discover that apparently I merely imagined that there was a William Shatner cover version. Sadface.


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 noooooooooooo

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


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
After all the loves of my life
I’ll still be thinking of you
And wondering why

*long instrument sequence*


Oh nooooooooooooo
Oh Noooooooooooooooooo

Categories: arts & entertainment, history

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3 replies

  1. Oh thanks for that earworm. Now I can be simultaneously tortured by todays meeting (that flows into tomorrow, luckily with a break for eating and sleeping and gossiping with colleagues) and Macarthur Park – Richard Harris version. I never quite got the hang of the Donna Summer version, although apparently it was a huge disco hit. 0-O

  2. I’m not sure I like the idea of yellow foaming waves below the knees…not a pretty image. But the cake stuff cracks me up!

  3. Definitely earworm material … still, makes a change from Born To Run, I suppose.
    I LOVED MacArthur Park when I was in my teens. Just so achingly sad even if I hadn’t the foggiest what he was singing about (with or without metaphor thrown in).
    Reminds me of a bloke I used to work with – he scooped a second-hand single of MP, long after it was no longer in the shops. Record was slightly warped, he tried to straighten it … guess what, no more single. He hadn’t even played it.

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