|Jimmy Webb was born on August 15, 1946 in Elk City, Oklahoma. The son of a Baptist minister, Webb made his first public performance playing the organ at his father's church.
As a teenager, Webb began writing songs and formed a rock and roll band. Then he left for Los Angeles, California, where wrote "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" which was recorded in 1966 by Johnny Rivers and Glen Campbell. Then the 5th Dimension recorded his "Up Up and Away." The two songs were awarded eight Grammy awards.
Webb asked his friend, actor Richard Harris to record Webb's "MacArthur Park." Webb had a hard time finding a record label willing to release the song. Finally, Lou Adler's Dunhill records released the song and "MacArthur Park" reached number two on the pop charts.
Though best-known as a songwriter, Webb has recorded several albums of his own. His 1977 album, El Mirage, was produced by George Martin. On the album was the song, "The Highwayman," which was later hit for the quartet of Johnny Cash,
Willie Nelson, and
Webb's first book, Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting, was published in 1988.