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Jimmy Webb

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Jimmy Webb


Jimmy Webb was a one-man Tin Pan Alley at a time when rock culture had decided to favor performers who wrote their own material, and even if his name doesn't ring a bell, chances are you know his songs. Between 1967 and 1969, Glen Campbell had big hits with three of Webb's songs: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" (also a hit for Isaac Hayes), "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston." And that's just the beginning. "Up, Up and Away" (The 5th Dimension), "MacArthur Park" (Richard Harris, then Donna Summer) and "Worst That Could Happen" (The Brooklyn Bridge) were all Top 10 hits. Born in 1946 in Oklahoma and exposed to country and white gospel, Webb mastered music on the keyboards at his dad's Baptist church. By his teens, he was writing his own songs, and by the time he was 21, two of them had won a pile of Grammys. In the '70s, he turned more to recording himself. Though he recorded a dozen or so albums -- some of them cult favorites -- none charted. In the decades since, he has also tried his hand at movie scores, religious music, classical compositions and stage musicals. Other artists, meanwhile, never stopped recording his songs -- sometimes an album's worth at a time.
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