Friday, February 10, 2017

Song #134: "Wichita Lineman"--Glen Campbell (1968)

Before we start today's story.....


One year ago today, we began this Top 500 musical journey, and for each of you who have visited us along the road from time to time, I am very thankful. :)

Now.....about today's song.....

Today, it's my runaway favorite song from the great Glen Campbell, who, when you survey his discography, had a simply remarkable career.

His early hits, such as today's song, in the late 1960's, put him on the map, and, in America's living rooms with a successful television variety show. He blitzed the charts in 1975 with the "Rhinestone Cowboy" LP, and even had a very successful run in the Christian County and Contemporary Christian music genres in the early 1990's.

The premise of this tune, written by Jimmy Webb, is quite simple. His inspiration for the song reportedly came from driving through part of Oklahoma, seeing endless lines of telephone poles, eventually noting what looked to be a silhouette of a lineman at the top of a pole. Webb then wondered what the lineman was saying into the receiver.

Never really taking into account the lines being for telephones, I always thought they were electrical lines. So my mind has always thought like this when I hear the song:

A blue-collar, hard-working man working the electrical lines hears his lover through those same lines, and he wants her to know that, no matter how much the job, the lines, take him away from her, because he hears, he feels her electricity, her power, and her love, in reality, they are always together.

Note the incredible orchestration in verse one with these lyrics:

"I hear you singing in the wire,
I can hear you through the whine...."

This is musical perfection. I get a chill down my spine every time I hear this song.

And, in closing, the song has one of the most powerful love lyrics of all time:

"And I need you more than want you,
And I want you for all time...."

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