Power Lines

Jimmy Webb wrote one of the greatest songs ever. Just don't tell him that.

"It's about that first love affair he was in," Campbell offers. "She just tore him a new rump, boy."

When Webb turned in the song, Campbell recalls that "every hair follicle stood up on my body...It's just a masterfully written song."

Yet "Wichita Lineman" is certainly not the most-performed Webb song: According to BMI, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" is the third most-performed song of the last five decades, and "Up, Up and Away" is, oddly, not far behind. Webb doesn't even want to hear about how wonderful the song is. He wants to get back to writing something for tomorrow, not 1,000 yesterdays ago. He has another solo album inside him, one he's desperate to make. "Wichita Lineman"? Leave it at the door.

This week, Jimmy Webb graces the stage in Dallas for the first time ever.
This week, Jimmy Webb graces the stage in Dallas for the first time ever.

"I'm just tellin' you from a songwriter's point of view that sometimes I am absolutely amazed at the take someone will have for one song and how oblivious they are to another one that I've labored over and burnt the midnight oil over and suffered over, and it goes by with no notice whatsoever," he says, not with any anger but with something approaching incredulity. "I'm somewhat bewildered by it. I would like to be as grateful as I could possibly be. It's just another song to me. I've written 1,000 of them, and it's really just another one."

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