BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page was last updated in April 2005We've left it here for reference.More information


Accessibility help
Text only
BBC Homepage
BBC Music
Listen Live.

 Full Schedule
-













Contact Us

Like this page?
Send it to a friend!

 
SONG HOME
YOUR VIEWS
87 | Top 100
'Wichita Lineman'
Glen Campbell
Listen
“Wichita Lineman” is one of those rare songs that seems somehow to exist in a world of its own – not just timeless but ultimately outside of modern music.Recorded by Glen Campbell and composed by songwriter Jimmy Webb, “Wichita Lineman” falls
Glen Campbell
Song facts
Composer Jimmy Webb
Genre Country
Album Wichita Lineman
Year of release 1968
UK Chart Position 7
somewhere between pop and country music, without really being either. A simple tale of a lonely telephone repairman working in the vast open plains of the American Mid-West, it has just two short verses and one chorus, but says as much in them as many authors say in a lifetime. The final 30 seconds are given over to one of the most evocative instrumental breaks ever and the whole thing hangs together perfectly.
Webb, the man behind the likes of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” and “MacArthurPark”, wanted Campbell to record “Wichita Lineman” from the first. But Campbell struggled to recapture the magic of Webb’s demo, feeling something integral was missing. Eventually, he had Webb drag his Hammond organ into the studio to accompany him as he sang. This time the song worked beautifully. It made number three in the US and helped the album of the same name go double platinum.


Glen Campbell on meeting Jimmy Webb
Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell talks to Gloria Hunniford about how he first met songwriter Jimmy Webb - "I went over to his house and he played me Witchita Lineman...and I'm sure glad he did!".

 

Other versions
Johnny Cash
 Johnny Cash provided another great interpretation of a classic American song on his Hurt single.

It's one of those simple songs that appears to be about nothing at all, but in fact is about everything.


Jim

READ MORE COMMENTS...
Make a comment







Songwriting tips

Jimmy Webb painted pictures with sound.
More in Writing A Song

Lyrics tend to follow the tempo of the tune.
More in Lyrics
Test your knowledge

Do you know your Jimmy Webb? Test yourself now.

TAKE THE CHALLENGE!






Like this song? Try these...

Baker Street
Gerry Rafferty

 DON'T MISS
Doves Doves
Special guests on Dermot's show this week

What's on

Radio 2 Documentaries
Find out more about current and forthcoming documentaries on Radio 2.






About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy