The Cake and the Rain

The Cake and the Rain

A Memoir

Book - 2017
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"Novelistic, perfectly plotted and quite possibly the best pop-star autobiography yet written." - The Wall Street Journal

Jimmy Webb's words have been sung to his music by a rich and deep roster of pop artists, including Glen Campbell, Art Garfunkel, Frank Sinatra, Donna Summer and Linda Ronstadt. He's the only artist ever to win Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration, and his chart-topping career has, so far, lasted fifty years, most recently with a Kanye West rap hit and a new classical nocturne.

Now, in his first memoir, Webb delivers a snapshot of his life from 1955 to 1970, from simple and sere Oklahoma to fast and fantastical Los Angeles, from the crucible of his family to the top of his longed-for profession.

Webb was a preacher's son whose father climbed off a tractor to receive his epiphany, and Jimmy, barely out of his teen age years, sank down into the driver's seat of a Cobra to speed to Las Vegas to meet with Elvis. Classics such as "Up, Up and Away", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", "The Worst that Could Happen", "All I Know", and "MacArthur Park" were all recorded by some of the most important voices in pop before Webb's twenty-fifth birthday: he thought it was easy.

The sixties were a supernova, and Webb was at their center, whipsawed from the proverbial humble beginnings into a moneyed and manic international world of beautiful women, drugs, cars and planes. That stew almost took him down--but Webb survived, his passion for music and work among his lifelines.

The Cake and The Rain is a surprising and unusual book: Webb's talent as a writer and storyteller is here on every page. His book is rich with a sense of time and place, and with the voices of characters, vanished and living, famous and not, but all intimately involved with him in his youth, when life seemed nothing more than a party and Webb the eternal guest of honor.

Publisher: New York, N.Y. : St. Martin's Press, 2017.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9781250058416
Characteristics: 346 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


From the critics

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Oct 25, 2017

Very well written book. I did not know much about Webb but found the book very interesting and well written. If you are a fan of music, you will enjoy it.

Oct 14, 2017

I liked reading about his relationships with other musicians. Some were singers who performed his songs others were close friends. He was very close to singer Harry Nilsson. Nilsson was good friends with Beatle John Lennon. There were some interesting escapades with the three of them.

One odd and scary story had to do with the murders by the Manson followers at the home of Roman Polanski. The first person to discover the bodies (according to this book) was Mama Cass Elliot. She was arriving late as she had been invited to the gathering. She saw a body outside the gate and one on the lawn. You can read the rest in the book.

If you are not familiar with Webb's songs just head to the back of the book. You will find song titles, who performed them and awards.

There are two things this book was missing. It stops in the early 70's. I believe Webb is still around. What happened after that? And I expected to know his inspirations for writing songs such as Galveston and Cake but there was little to explain what might have inspired him to write these songs.

Oct 10, 2017

An enjoyable read- even if you don't recognize the name Jimmy Webb, chances are that you've heard one or more of the songs he's written ( McArthur Park, Wichita Lineman ). Webb probes himself to be as adept at storytelling as he is at songwriting, allowing him to weave a gripping book out of his fascinating life experiences.

LPL_DirectorBrad May 17, 2017

You might not know who Jimmy Webb is, but you most likely have heard one of his famous songs like "Wichita Lineman" or "Macarthur Park." This memoir is a great read, full of pretty outrageous stories and chock full of appearances by musicians like John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Joni Mitchell, and others. Most of this books toggles back and forth between Jimmy's early success in the music industry and reflections of growing up as the kid of a traveling preacher. Any fans of popular music of the 1960s and 1970s will love the stories that fill the pages of this book. Highly recommended.

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