The

Musical

Nose

Musicians of Note

Jimmy Webb:
El Mirage

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Jimmy Webb:
Angel Heart

Currently Not Available


Jimmy Webb:
Suspending Disbelief

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America et al.:
Das Letzte Einhorn
(The Last Unicorn)
[Import, Soundtrack]

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Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant:
The Animals' Christmas

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Amy Grant:
Time Again... Live
DVD

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Jimmy Webb:
Tunesmith – The Songs
of Jimmy Webb

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Carly Simon:
Film Noir

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Linda Ronstadt:
Cry Like a Rainstorm,
Howl Like the Wind

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The Lasting Effect of Jimmy Webb, Page 3 of 4

by Mike Fallon


Into The 1980's and Beyond...

Into the 80's, 90's, and 00's, as my life got absorbed with raising a family and working an 8 to 5 job, I somewhat got away from listening to and following popular music. Instead I started to drift over to talk radio on my long daily commutes. Also, radio had changed. Top 40 radio used to encompass all kinds of different music where the playlists were much more broad-based which meant that the listening audience was much more broad-based. We were more of a national (along with much of Western Society) music community when there was an intermix of music genres on the local radio station. We all heard each others music where rock, pop, soul, folk, urban, country, and even silly (remember Ray Stevens?) were mixed together on the same playlists. I could tune in to my local station and listen to a beautiful new song on the air waves (like a Jimmy Webb song) and I knew in a sense that the rest of the country was listening too.

But then the musical walls began to be thrown up, the community we had was fading, and music radio was becoming segmented with radio stations being dedicated to just one genre. Nostalgia Pop/Rock "Oldies" might be on one station in town while Easy Listening, Pop, Country, Folk, Metal, Hard Rock, Grunge, Adult Alternative, Indie Rock, Rap/Hip-Hop would be relegated to other stations. These niche stations each had their own following but with not much crossover to other types of music. Christian radio also has their own religious inspired version of Pop music. And whatever happened to Soul music? So for an aspiring songwriter it became harder to be heard by a broad-based audience across the country (and the world). Gone were the days when a songwriter could write a hit song and every teenager in the country heard it on their local hit station. So musically we were all becoming split up or, as in my case, spit out and turned into a radio homeless person.

So because of that, I kind of lost track of what was happening with Jimmy Webb's songwriting and where his new songs were being played. Little did I know that besides songwriting he went on to produce wondrous works on a larger scale.

Even though I knew little of what Jimmy Webb was up to in the 1980's, I was not totally Jimmy Webb-less during this period... I do remember one large-scale project he was involved with. He wrote the soundtrack for the successful 1982 film The Last Unicorn, an animated children's tale with the group America singing his songs. The film's soundtrack was released in Germany by Virgin Records in 1982.

There is some confusion over who is actually singing "Now That I'm a Woman" on the CD. Could it be Mia Farrow who did the voice of Amalthea in the film or was it Katie Irving who recorded two songs for the film? My sense tells me it was Katie.

Here are two very delightful songs from
The Last Unicorn by Jimmy Webb:

America
"The Last Unicorn" sample



Katie Irving
"Now That I'm a Woman" sample


Not until long after the Internet came along did I ever have the opportunity to hear Jimmy Webb speak in one form or another. Sure, I heard him sing but that wasn't the same as listening to him talk. So I was very curious as to what he sounded like. So in December 1986 I was to have my chance. I never saw him on TV before but there he was as a guest performer along with Art Garfunkel on the Christmas Special Amy Grant: Headin' Home for the Holidays on NBC. I was so excited! Before that special, Amy Grant had joined Art Garfunkel in recording a suite of songs from a cantata by Jimmy Webb called The Animals' Christmas, released by Columbia Records in November 1986. And there they were to perform part of that suite on her first network television special. But did Jimmy Webb talk on that special? No! He just conducted the choir and other musicians — but no talking. I was excited and disappointed at the same time.

Amy Grant
"Carol of the Birds" sample
from The Animals' Christmas


Jimmy Webb wrote a wonderful song for Amy Grant called "If These Walls Could Speak". This was on her 1988 album Lead Me On.

Amy Grant
"If These Walls Could Speak" sample


~Video~




Here is a video of Amy Grant performing Jimmy Webb's "If These Walls Could Speak" from the LIVE DVD Time Again.

See Video (Small)
or
See Video (Large)


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