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MacArthur Park (arr Sheehan)

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Jimmy Webb

Jimmy Webb (arr. Patrick Sheehan)

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General Info

Year: 1967 /
Duration: c. 6:55
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Pop vocal
Publisher: Manuscript
Cost: Score and Parts - Contact Patrick Sheehan


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

MacArthur Park was written and composed by Jimmy Webb in the summer and fall of 1967 as part of an intended cantata. Webb initially brought the entire cantata to The Association, but the group rejected it. The inspiration for MacArthur Park was Webb’s relationship and breakup with Susie Horton. MacArthur Park, in Los Angeles, was where the two occasionally met for lunch and spent their most enjoyable times together. At the time (the middle of 1965), Horton worked for Aetna Life Insurance whose offices were located just across the street from the park. When asked by interviewer Terry Gross what was going through his mind when he wrote the lyric, Webb replied that it was meant to be symbolic and referred to the end of a love affair. In an interview with Newsday in October 2014, Webb explained:

Everything in the song was visible. 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. And so it’s a kind of musical collage of this whole love affair that kind of went down in MacArthur Park ... Back then, I was kind of like an emotional machine, like whatever was going on inside me would bubble out of the piano and onto paper.

This version by Patrick Sheehan is an arrangement of the Maynard Ferguson recording released on the album M.F. Horns in 1970. This chart would be a favorite of Maynard’s fans and became a staple of his concerts for the remainder of his career.

- Program Note from Ronald Reagan High School Wind Ensemble concert program, 21 December 2018

MacArthur Park is a 1967 song by Jimmy Webb, originally composed as part of an intended cantata. Webb initially brought the entire cantata to The Association, but the group rejected it. Richard Harris was the first to record the song, in 1968; it was subsequently covered by numerous artists. Among the best-known covers are Donna Summer's disco arrangement from 1978 and Waylon Jennings's version recorded in 1969 and his recording of the song from 1976. Maynard Ferguson, Stan Kenton and Woody Herman all performed big-band jazz arrangements.

While it was a commercially successful song multiple times after it was released, MacArthur Park used flowery lyrics and metaphors (most famously, love being likened to a cake left out in the rain) that were considered by media such as the Los Angeles Times to be "polarizing" and "loopy".

-Program Notes from Wikipedia

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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Works for Winds by this Composer