Friday, October 22, 2010

Arthur and MacArthur

Earlier this week a Facebook friend announced that "In my head all day, Richard Harris has been whining about a cake." This of course sent me to my iTunes library because I suddenly had to hear his full seven-and-a-half minute rendition of "MacArthur Park," with that wonderful lyric about the the consequences of not writing down the recipe to a favorite pastry. It was actually one of the first MP3s I illegally downloaded from Napster in the day (growing up, we had the 45 single at home). But, I soon realized, the only thing that could possibly be better than listening to him try to sing the words would be watching him put his whole body and soul into the number.

And wouldn't you know, there happens to be a YouTube video of Harris singing "MacArthur Park." Not the whole song, unfortunately, but some nifty clips, along with a report on the how he came to record the song. His ex-wife is even featured as a commentator.

What makes his rendition of the song so great is that he acts-sings it as if it were a musical theater number -- fitting since he played King Arthur in the movie of Camelot and later on the Broadway stage. And wouldn't you know, YouTube also has a clip of Harris performing the title song in an early-'80s revival, which was taped for HBO.

In my family's pre-VCR days I can remember going through our local TV Guide and circling all the times it scheduled to air, so I could watch it again and again. If I watched the whole show again today, I fear my critical response wouldn't be quite so kind, but it's delightful seeing Richard Harris put all he's got into this number. Unfortunately, it's not possible to embed it here, so you'll just have to go to here to watch it.