Friday, July 24, 2009

Seconds of Pleasure

In May 1968, Richard Harris' epic, multi-part "MacArthur Park" reached the Top Forty, where it would eventually crest at Number Two. It clocked in at an epochal 7:20.

Two months later, the Beatles recorded their own lengthy single, "Hey Jude." It was released on August 26, 1968, and went to Number One for nine weeks.

But Jimmy Webb, the author of "MacArthur Park," wasn't peeved by the chart position of "Hey Jude" as much as he was by its length. "After I put 'MacArthur Park' out and it was 7 minutes 20 seconds long," Webb said in 2005, "the Beatles put out 'Hey Jude' and it was 7:21, one second longer." He has claimed that the band specifically edited the single so that it would be longer than "MacArthur Park."

There's only one problem with this theory: "Hey Jude" actually runs only 7:11, just like the store. It makes a nice story, though, Jimmy.


Alex said...

There seems to be a lot of Richard Harris in the air right now... I can't figure out what blog I got this from, but someone recently had a post that included this video from an English one-hit wonder show (which you might find interesting):

Rob said...

and then after Richard Harris played Bo Derek's father in the 1981 film "Tarzan the Ape Man," which is 107 minutes long, Paul McCartney had to make "Give My Regards To Broad Street," which is exactly 108 minutes long.

will this rivalry never end?

Gavin said...

What length was printed on the "Hey Jude" single?

MJN said...

It looks like 7:11 to me: