Looking Back on MacArthur Park

MacArthur Park sung by Richard Harris

Song lyrics are interesting. We often listen to simple lyrics in search of their deeper meaning. So it is with the late sixties number-one hit, “MacArthur Park.” Many were sure that the accomplished songwriter, Jimmy Webb, had something profound meaning in mind when these words were recorded.

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!

Read more: Richard Harris – MacArthur Park Lyrics | MetroLyrics

In an interview with Newsday in October 2014, Webb explained what he had intentionally left the meaning of the lyrics to listener interpretation since the song hit the charts in 1968. Finally, during that interview, he made this admission.

“The truth is that everything in the song was visible (while sitting in MacArthur Park). There’s nothing in it that’s fabricated. The old men playing checkers by the trees, the cake that was left out in the rain, all of the things that are talked about in the song are things I actually saw.”

So, these lyrics have no deep or disturbing meaning after all.  Not everything we encounter in life is as deep as we seek to make it.  Sometimes life is, truly, just a cake left out in the rain. Relax and sing along.

About authorbillramsey

During his forty-year professional career, Bill Ramsey wrote magazine articles and business newsletters. Now retired in the mountains of western North Carolina, he writes a blog and has published four books. Bill's 2015 collection of concise, real-life essays is titled "What Do YOU Think?" He has also written "Me Now - Who Next? (The Inspiring Story of a Traumatic Brain Injury Recovery)" and "Now That I Think About It. Bill's books and are available from Amazon.com and on all e-readers. See www.authorbillramsey.com. Follow Bill on Facebook at www.facebook.com/billramseyauthor/
This entry was posted in billramseyblog.wordpress.com, Memories, Music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Looking Back on MacArthur Park

  1. allenrizzi says:

    As with all song lyrics, “deep and disturbing” is what the listener can make of them. Life offers us an infinite series of metaphors neatly layered over simple facts. The meaning is often ours to choose, correctly or incorrectly. That’s what makes songwriting fun!


  2. Kind of refreshing, after all the BS interpretations of poetry we were subjected to in freshman lit classes (if you know what I mran . . . wink, wink). 🙂


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