Song of the day: King Harvest – "Wichita Lineman"

Today’s post was going to be a quick and easy one. It started off with just one song – a long-forgotten Australian cover version of an American song – but unfortunately it blossomed into a behemoth of a post featuring about six or seven songs. (I lost count after five.)

It started with a simple question…

Q: What do you get when a bunch of early-70’s Australian hairy rockers play the country ballad “Wichita Lineman“?

A: You get exactly what you think you’re gonna get when a bunch of early-70’s Australian hairy rockers play the country ballad “Wichita Lineman”.

King Harvest – “Wichita Lineman (1971)

Link

If you want to compare that to the original, here’s the incomparable original:

Glen Campbell – “Wichita Lineman (1968)

Link

Or, if you want to hear the man who wrote it…

Jimmy Webb – “Wichita Lineman (1996)

Link

I might as well play you the version by the recently defunctified R.E.M. as well. After all, this is (theoretically) a power pop blog, and a lot of power pop fans apparently like this particular band:

R.E.M. – “Wichita Lineman (1996)

Link

But back to King Harvest’s version. If you listened to it all the way through you would have noticed that the band also included a bit of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix“. So…

Glen Campbell – “By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1967)

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Believe it or not, Glen Campbell’s version ain’t the original. This is:

Johnny Rivers – “By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1966)

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And here (again) is the chap wrote it:

Jimmy Webb – “By The Time I Get To Phoenix (1996)

Link

But this post is supposed to be about “Wichita Lineman”, so how about I finish this post with an ultra-groovy version of it?

Sergio Mendes & Brasil ’66 – “Wichita Lineman (1969)

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Well, this post ended up much longer than I thought it was going to be. Sorry about that.

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4 Responses to Song of the day: King Harvest – "Wichita Lineman"

  1. FD13NYC says:

    No Peter, the post is fine. I love these songs by Jimmy Webb sung by Glen Campbell.

    With all my musical knowledge over the past 45-50 years or so, I did not know that Johnny Rivers recorded Phoenix a year earlier than Glen. Where did you find that out? See, it proves you do learn something every day. Good call!

  2. Peter says:

    Hey, FD13NYC: Thanks. I found out about “Phoenix” when I pestered Wikipedia. It told me:

    “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” is the title of a song written by Jimmy Webb. Originally recorded by Johnny Rivers in 1965, it was made famous by American country music singer Glen Campbell, appearing as the opening track on the latter's 1967 album of the same name.

    I'm with you regarding Glen Campbell's interpretations of Jimmy Webb's songs. I think they're sublime. (Especially “Galveston“.)

    And I love learning something new every day.

  3. Curty Ray says:

    My favorite after the glen Campbell version is the great Lani Hall (Sergio Mendes) …even better than James Taylor's

    http://youtu.be/94DohYXhwZE

  4. Peter says:

    Hey, Curty Ray: I'm glad you're a fan of the Sergio Mendes version of “Wichita Lineman”. I first heard it only a couple of days ago when I was investigating alternative versions of the song to see what was out there (and to see if I could find something really “out there”). I love Sergio's version – and I adore that video.

    As for James Taylor's version of “Wichita Lineman”, I enjoyed it. I like James Taylor's music, and I thought his version of the song was like everything else he does: I thought it was nice. Nowadays, though, whenever I hear the name James Taylor I immediately think of his appearance on The Simpsons. (That clip also includes one of my all-time favourite lines ever from any Simpsons episode: “You fool! Now we may never know how if ants can be trained to sort tiny screws in space.”)

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