Buddy Greco turned 86 last month. If he has slowed down in the past fifty years it’s not noticeable. He is currently on tour in the UK. I met him twenty-five years ago in Las Vegas, one of my regular stops when I was on the speaking circuit. Buddy became a good friend. Every time I spoke in Las Vegas I went to The Sands and spent the evening with him. More often than not, he and his wife, Lezlie Anders, would show up the following day, at the church where I was speaking with my former wife, Edwene Gaines. On those occasions he could be usually be “talked into” singing.
As much as I enjoy Buddy’s music, his stories are what I always remember when I think of the times we spent together. And, of all the stories he has told me, the one I love most is the story of Jimmy Webb writing McArthur Park one afternoon at Buddy’s house. He always ends the story with, “I’ve considered having the piano framed.”
When I first heard Buddy’s story, I understood it. Not because I knew Jimmy Webb, I didn’t. I knew McArthur Park. I’ve known it since the first time I heard it. I have more versions of it than you can imagine. My favorite was, and I suppose always will be, The Four Tops rendition. All of these years later, my friend Stephen Woodfin, brought Jimmy Webb back into my life with his blog post Are All Good Books About Love. Finally I met the man who wrote the song, thanks to Stephen.
Last Sunday, Christina and I spent a couple of hours watching clips of Jimmy Webb on YouTube. From there I went to iTunes, made a few purchases, and built a Jimmy Webb play list. The last thirty minutes of our time with Jimmy was spent on his web site, checking his schedule, and making plans to attend either his November 3 or November 4 Tennessee concert. Jimmy Webb is inspiration, and I’m fortunate to have a couple of friends who shared him with me.
This morning, YouTube recommended a video of Jimmy Webb to me, based on the time I spent watching him last weekend. The recommendation was an interview, promotion, for his album Just
Across the River. I watched it and knew when he said, “Your songs are like children. You send them out not knowing what they are going to do…” that I needed to share Jimmy Webb with you, just like Buddy Greco first sent Jimmy to me and Stephen Woodfin hammered the introduction home twenty plus years later. Take a minute and listen to this master songwriter talk about his art and you’ll come away with some ideas of how you can do the same thing with yours.
Life wouldn’t be worth much without friends and artists like these.
I was going to insert the entire Jimmy Webb video here but when I went to YouTube for the link, I found this clip of The Four Tops performing McArthur Park, live, and I decided what better way to show you the beauty of Jimmy Webb’s work than through this performance by the Tops, and their late, great, lead singer, Levi Stubbs. Enjoy.