MacArthur Park & Cake Out in the Rain

Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don’t think that I can take it
’Cause it took so long to bake it
And I’ll never have that recipe again
Oh no!

The lyrics to “MacArthur Park” come to mind now as I realize that we left the cake out in the rain. We Americans treated our freedom, our success, and our ease of life without sheltering them, appreciating them, and it took so long to bake that perfect recipe that we can never get it back. Oh no.

Screen Shot 2020-06-05 at 2.56.13 PMI always turn to music, or Aaron Sorkin’s body of work, when I can’t stand it anymore. I think we can all agree that “MacArthur Park” is one of the greatest songs ever written. “No, no,” to quote that literary genius Anna Wintour, “it’s not a question.” It is the perfect recipe of lyrics and notes, it’s long and meanders, and it is precisely what we need right now.

So I turned to one of my favorite renditions of it. David Letterman brought the largest orchestra ever into the theater that launched the Beatles in America, and he added to the mix the composer Jimmy Webb, and bassist Will Lee on vocals. If you haven’t seen it, click here. If you have seen it, check it out again — but this time, instead of paying attention to the camera’s focal point, which is mostly Will Lee, watch Jimmy Webb, who is playing the organ, and Paul Schaeffer, who’s playing the piano. Watch the passion with which they do what they do. Take note of the other musicians and their commitment to the performance. Notice how each of them focuses on what they’re contributing to create what is, in my opinion, one of the greatest moments in music and late-night television. I love the talent and passion with which they are giving their all to their craft. That is what we all need to do right now.

We must ignore the diversionary explosions of the world around us and do what we can to change things. We cannot let anyone else, let alone our government, take from us that which our forefathers built. Nope. Not on my watch. Not today. Let’s get to work, each of us within our own power.

Watching this video twice renewed me. It reminded me that while we left the cake out in the rain, we can bake another one simply by doing whatever’s in our power to put back together the pieces of our broken nation, our shattered souls, and our aching hearts. Yes, turn to music or Aaron Sorkin. It works every time.

There will be another song for me
For I will sing it
There will be another dream for me
Someone will bring it

I will take my life into my hands
And I will use it
I will win the worship in their eyes
And I will lose it
I will have the things that I desire
And my passion flow like rivers through the sky
And after all the loves of my life
I’ll be thinking of you.

3 comments to MacArthur Park & Cake Out in the Rain

  • Cliff

    I’ve never liked your taste in music. It’s terrible. Having said that, I LOVED this!! Of course, I like almost everything Jimmy Webb has written. The performance was nothing short of brilliant. Well done!!!

  • Julie

    I’ve always been baffled by that song. I laughed at the lyrics…”someone left the cake out in the rain, I don’t think that I can take it cuz it took so long to bake it and I’ll never have that recipe again…oh no!” which were silly when I first heard them in the 70’s. I didn’t have enough painful bandwith in my early 20’s to recognize the metaphor. Okay, it still makes me laugh. And since your post, I have spent 30 minutes looking up the history and was gobsmacked to see that Richard Harris was the original recording artist. But “my” version was the disco one, Donna Summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2YcU24Wsf0 which still makes me dance. And as long as I can still dance and laugh, through aches and pains (now have plenty of bandwith), I can make a new recipe, a new cake. Waterproof, maybe?

    • Christine

      I’ve never understood it until the last few years either, but now it has such meaning to me, and the middle… I will find another song to sing…who could not be moved to action? Christine

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