Brief Encounters With Jimmy Webb!

April 9, 2007


Growing up in the turbulent 60’s in the Shadow of the Cold War, wasn’t easy! Growing up in New York of the 60’s, with all the drugs and violence, had an even harder edge. I was tired of writing formula pop songs about made-up experiences in a location that no longer held any fascination for me. My recording career had fizzled out and my marriage was winding down. Although my partner, Kelli Ross and I were running the publishing companies of Quincy Jones, Leslie Gore, Bobby Scott, Janis Ian, Joey Levine and Artie Resnick, my own creativity was suffering from a lack of positive stimulation.

I knew the next musical trend would be coming from the west coast, when I first heard, “Cherish” by the Association” and “California Dreaming”, by the Mamas and Papas…but when I heard “Macarthur Park” by Richard Harris I knew it had arrived!

Before I go on with my story, I’d like you listen to hear the song that kicked me into high gear. It’s Richard Harris singing his classic record, which Jimmy Webb, wrote and produced…”Macarthur Park”. This video is distracting, so personally I prefer to listen to the music and let my imagination create my own pictures.

Although “Macarthur Park” was seven minutes long, twice the length of any song on the radio at the time, it quickly became number one! The poetry of the lyric and beautiful, psychedelic labyrinth of music gave a shot in the arm to Pop music in general, and to me particular. I took my first trip to Hollywood in the summer of 1968 to get a better understanding of the new emerging music scene …and to get a quickie Mexican divorce.

Jackie DeShannon, took me on a tour of Hollywood and introduced me to the wonders of Malibu Beach. I hung out at the Troubadour and the Whiskey with Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys and Terry Kirkman of the Association. I went to parties up at Mike Love’s, down at Richard Baskin’s and over at Football Hall Of Famer, Jim Brown’s house. I reunited with my long time songwriting partner, Ben Raleigh ( “Love Is A Hurting Thing”, “Tell Laura I Love Her”) who had recently relocated to California. I also hooked up with my friend Bob Stone, who was once signed to me, as he celebrated his number one record with Cher, “Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves ” I also started writing with Gary Zekely and Mitch Bottler ( “Wait A Million Years”, “Sooner Or Later”), found time to go to a Phil Spector recording session…as well as fall in-and-out of love a couple of times!

It was quite an eventful two weeks, but I still hadn’t met Jimmy Webb, whose music brought me out here in the first place. As my plane took off for New York, “Up, Up and Away” kept running through my mind…I was disappointed, but I knew I’d be coming back.

Jimmy’s songs like, “Didn’t We?”,”The Worst That Can Happen”, “Wichita Lineman”, and “Galveston”, continued to inspire me as I spent my last dreary year in New York. It was two years after moving to the West Coast, however, before I finally met my inspiration!

I was working as General Professional Manager for Warner Brothers Music, when CEO, Ed Silvers, informed me that we now represented Jimmy Webb. I can’t tell you how excited I was to go out to his house in Encino with Warner Brothers Records President, Mo Ostin to hear the final mixes of his latest WB album, and finally meet my hero!

As we waited for Jimmy in his game room, I saw a Las Vegas slot machine in the corner. I put a quarter in and hit the jackpot. Mo smiled…as I hit the jackpot again…again and again! Mo, started glaring at me as I tried to push my winnings back into the machine. Now fully embarrassed, I started kicking hundreds of quarters underneath the living room rug, just as Jimmy walked in laughing…that’s when I realized I was the victim of a practical joke!

I knew I was gonna’ like working with this guy!

( To Be Continued )

Copyright 2007 by Artie Wayne


10 Responses to “Brief Encounters With Jimmy Webb!”

  1. Dave Feldman Says:

    Jimmy Webb is one of my musical heroes, too. I just saw him perform solo at the Cutting Room in New York and it was one of my favorite concerts ever. It was moving watching him sing his guts out. His vocal range might be limited but his heart isn’t.

    Have you ever read his book, “Tunesmith”? It’s one of the best books about songwriting I’ve ever read. He’s amazingly generous in his assessment of other writers, and astute in praising and damning some of his own work.

    Really enjoyed your post.

  2. steveo Says:

    Great story, Artie..I too, was very inspired by Jimmy’s work..and got a chance to meet him a few times…
    I was thrilled to work for Bob Ross, who owned the former
    Audio Arts studio that became Harmony Recorders on Melrose, right accross from the old RKO Studios…The studio where Jimmy slept under the piano, and worked around the place doing whatever Madeline Baker asked him to do…
    Wonderful time in my life, although i worked at the place doing demos about 4 or 5 years later….I felt Jimmy’s vibes, as he cut many of the demos there which featurd some of his most famous songs…


  3. crestosssa Says:


    I was surfing the web and i saw this site, pretty cool.
    Currently im running and adult site:Reachton
    k, just want to say hi 🙂
    Can i link you from my site? im looking for quality content like yours. If no let me know if i can add u in exchange for a montly fee or something.

    • Joe Nelson Says:


      I was reading the replies from people who actually read these things and support what Artie does and saw your idiotic porn link, pretty stupid.
      Currently I’m having the runs

      k, just wanted to say fuck you 😛
      Can i smack you in the mouth? im looking for an excuse to take out my frustrations on a moron. If no let me have the little green pieces of paper in your wallet with dead guys faces on them and I’ll give them to Artie or something.

  4. It is so nice to read these wonderful recollections on Jimmy Webb and his music. His songs have always been an inspiration.

    I moved from Chicago to Hollywood in the late 1970’s. I stumbled into a job working for Madeline Baker. She owned Audio Arts, which was a publishing company/recording studio in Hollywood. I didn’t know at first, but Madeline owned the publishing rights to Jimmy Webb’s songs.

    The job paid next to nothing, but I had access to the newly upgraded 24-track recording studio. Even better, early demo tapes of Jimmy’s classic songs lined the shelves, and yes, “Jimmy’s vibes” were all over the place. I was spellbound listening to his early demos. Jimmy’s voice was not polished, but he had a raw emotional quality that grabbed you. I mentioned to Madeline that his voice was somehow similar to Glenn Campbell’s. She laughed and said, “You’ve got it backwards! Glenn Campbell is a masterful studio musician who can sing any style. He only started singing like Jimmy after he heard him sing.” She added, “In fact, anyone who ever records a Jimmy Webb song ends up singing it like him.”

    I was having lunch back then with a co-worker (Joe Romersa) at Lucy’s El Adobe restaurant down the block from the studio when Jimmy Webb walked in. We nervously approached him and introduced ourselves. We told him we worked at the studio where he once lived and where he recorded his songs. We discovered that he was having legal issues with Madeline Baker over the publishing rights to his songs. I remember thinking at the time that if I ever bumped into him again I’d think of something else to talk about. Unfortunately, this was the only time we ever met. He seemed to be exactly what one would expect, a down to earth, deep and emotional guy.

    Shortly thereafter I sang on a recording of Jimmy’s song, “She Never Smiles Anymore”. It sounded good so I called Madeline Baker in to see what she thought. She listened intently until the end and said, “Very nice – it sounds like Jimmy.”

    Roger Cordell
    Big City Music

  5. Music-Band Says:


    I was surfing the web and i saw this site, pretty cool.
    Currently im running and adult site:Reachton
    k, just want to say hi 🙂
    Can i link you from my site? im looking for quality content like yours. If no let me know if i can add u in exchange for a montly fee or something.

    • Joe Nelson Says:


      Didn’t I just smack you in the mouth? Two identical spams right down to the typos, supposedly from different people. The idiots are breeding! Dr. Kervorkian, please report to surgery stat.

  6. paydaymakesmyday Says:

    Hi – Loved your post about Jimmy
    He was gracious enough to talk to us budding songwriters at the Cell Theatre last month; see my post about it
    He’s such an inspiration for all of us!!
    He’s a joker too: I saw his humorous side as well; he joked that if the event didn’t work out, it’d be “my fault,” since I organized the meeting!! Great guy, down to earth

  7. pianotrendsmusic Says:

    I agree with everyone so far. Jimmy Webb not only is one of the most inspirational composer songwriters of his time but a terrific person as well. We supplied Jimmy with pianos for a pair of Chicago concerts in the past and both times he was gracious and great to work with. He took the time to spend with our daughter and made her feel special. He didn’t have to do that. The first time we met he was in Chicago to perform in concert with Michael Feinstein. (another very nice person in addition to being a great performer) They both were appreciative of our support and never did they act entitled. Instead they made us feel special before during and after their shows. They really made us feel a part of their success for that evening. So my wife and I tip our hats to one of the good guys in this business- Jimmy Webb!

  8. Artie,
    Thanks for this post on Jimmy. I was just having dinner in London with Mick Patrick, who went to see Jimmy with me last November when he was here. I introduced them and it was a magical night, as always with his music.

    As you know, I have been blessed to know Jimmy since the early days when his fame began and he was always so generous with me. He’s a brilliant writer, yes, but an amazing man as well.

    He has a great CD, Live and at Large Jimmy Webb in the UK where he tells the stories behind the songs he’s singing. A great buy for any Jimmy fan.

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