Jimmy Webb

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Jimmy Layne Webb (born August 15, 1946 in Elk City, Oklahoma) is an American songwriter. His compositions include "Up, Up and Away", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", and "MacArthur Park". His songs have been recorded or performed by Glen Campbell, The 5th Dimension, Thelma Houston, The Supremes, Richard Harris, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, R.E.M., and Chet Atkins, among others. According to BMI, his song "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" was the third most performed song in the fifty years between 1940 to 1990.[1] He is the only artist to have ever received Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration.[2]


Early life

Webb's father, Robert Lee Webb, was a Baptist minister and former member of the United States Marine Corps who presided over rural churches in southwestern Oklahoma and west Texas. With his mother's encouragement, Webb learned piano and organ and by the age of 12 was playing in the choir of his father's churches, accompanied by his father on guitar and his mother on accordion. Webb grew up in a conservative religious home where his father restricted radio listening to country music and white gospel music.

During the late 1950s, Webb started writing songs, influenced by the church music he played and also by some of the new music he heard, including Elvis Presley. In 1961, at the age of 14, he bought his first record, "Turn Around, Look at Me" by Glen Campbell. Webb was drawn to the singer's distinctive voice.[3]

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