Thursday, September 28, 2017

Questions I didn't get round to asking Jimmy Webb

Just got back from talking to Jimmy Webb about his memoir "The Cake And The Rain" at Waterstone's. I'm looking at my notes and realising that while our conversation touched on such topics as Frank Sinatra in a onesie, the night he left a party with Little Feat, became involved in a road race in the Hollywood Hills and totalled an unbelievably expensive motor car, how he wrote his first hit in his head while driving to the beach, what it was like as a 17-year-old to stand in front of the cream of Los Angeles session men and conduct his own arrangement and why there's a solid fiduciary reason why "Hey Jude" is as long as it is, these are just some of the things I didn't get round to asking him about.

* Singing for the first time in public at Hugh Hefner's place for his TV show "Playboy After Dark".
* Why Richard Harris was incapable of properly singing the title of "McArthur Park".
* Watching the Vietnam demo in Grosvenor Square from the penthouse on top of the Playboy Club in Park Lane.
* His disastrous in-concert debut in Los Angeles in 1970 where Le Tout Hollywood turned up to watch him fail – and he obliged.
* His private conversations with Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong.
* Being sneaked into the control room to watch the Beatles record "Honey Pie".
* Taking part in a naked orchestral concert with, among others, Joni Mitchell.
* Nearly killing himself shooting the cover of "Lands End".
* How he became one of twelve writers credited on "Famous" by Kanye West.
* Lots of other stuff involving famous beautiful women, expensive cars and cocaine.

Still, it's all in the book.

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