Musings From A Musical Mind

MacArthur Park

This last week on American Idol, Amber sang “MacArthur Park” – a “one hit wonder” from the sixties. I remember the remake in the 70’s from Disco Queen, Donna Summer and always liked the song. I was in junior high when I first heard it and wasn’t sure what the lyrics were or what they meant but always felt connected with it somehow, but I never knew what it was called. When they said the name I went to look it up and found many covers for this song. My favorite is from none other than the great Glen Campbell.

This song has a great melody – but what do those lyrics really mean??  Here is one explanation I found explaining these lyrics – maybe you can come up with your own after hearing this version:

MacArthur Park is a sad, touching song about a once wonderful relationship –  one that comes along rarely. MacArthur park is the relationship. The cake is everything that was put into the relationship to make it what it is ( it takes a lot of ingredients to make a cake or a relationship). The cake being left out in the rain and melting is saying that the relationship is not being nurtured and is melting and falling apart. The part where he says “i don’t think that i can take it because it took so long to bake it and I’ll never have the recipe again” means he is having trouble coming to terms with the fact that it took a lot of time and effort to get this beautiful relationship and now its falling apart because it’s not being looked after and all the special qualities poured into the relationship will never be able to be duplicated.

Here is a live version set back in the 70’s.  It is great – and he even plays some mean guitar towards the end.  A real treat to hear him backed by a HUGE orchestra!  What about you?  Do you remember this song?  Where does it take you back to?

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 no
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
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 no
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

Oh, after all the loves of my life

I’ll be thinking of you and wondering why
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 no, oh no, no, no, oh no

Written by Jimmy Webb
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