The Cake and the Rain By Jimmy Webb (St. Martin’s Press)

The Cake and the Rain
By Jimmy Webb
(St. Martin’s Press)

Jimmy Webb is not a household name by current standards. Heck, few nowadays probably don’t know who he was/is. But, at one time, he was held in the highest of regards as a songwriter. Respected by the likes of Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, Webb has written many of the songs that comprise the American songbook; namely “Up Up and Away” and “MacArthur Park.”

Here in “The Cake and the Rain,” Webb, in what he calls his first autobiography, chooses to focus on the stories and the connections that set him apart from the contemporary songwriter reputation he earned through his talents. We don’t learn much, if anything, about his process. We don’t learn anything about how it works for him. But, he does give us plenty of insight into the level of his celebrity in the 60s and 70s, his love affairs (both elicit and legitimate), his high-profile friendships with members of musical royalty (including Harry Nilsson, Richard Harris, Joni Mitchell and members of The Beatles), and his love for extreme sporting (fast cars, gliders).

Webb goes to great pains to establish himself as a player during the alcohol/drug fueled time of days long gone. And, by what he’s chosen to include in these pages, he’s done a wonderful job of doing just that. Upon finishing “The Cake and the Rain,” one cannot come away without not knowing who Jimmy Webb is and respecting him and his various talents.