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The Cake And The Rain by Jimmy Webb review

Genius songwriter writes eyebrow-raising memoir

Now revered as one of the great songwriters, the man behind MacArthur Park, Wichita Lineman and countless others was, as he first soared, mocked as a mainstream “square”. A sensitive type, he hated that, believing his hallucinatory lyrics were just as out-there as those of The Beatles or the Stones. Perhaps he overcompensated. Glen Campbell’s first words to him were: “Get a haircut.”

In this very colourful, candid memoir, Webb reveals that he really was a rock’n’roll wild man. One night of drink, drugs and chaos with Harry Nilsson and John Lennon left him in a coma, after which he had to re-learn the piano all over again. Tales of egomania, debauchery and a complex love life are matched by insights into his craft and the industry’s workings, and there’s some Olympic-standard A-list name-dropping. Arch anecdotes, beautiful prose. There won’t be a better music-related book this year.