hope

Jimmy & Me cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Art Garfunkel, Angel Clare, 1973

Notes:

This song is the most famous one of the entire collection. Though it's been recorded quite a few times, I think the original version is still my favorite. Some have called "Wichita Lineman," another of Jimmy's more famous works, the "perfect song." While I agree that one's hard to beat, for my money, it's this one. It would be hard to find a more sincere, beautiful, heartbreaking ode to loss. There've been so many times in my life when all the wrangling and ranting and raving has...

Truth cover art

Lyrics & notes

4 Sep 1980

you telephoned
how can you sound so close, yet distant
we keep pretending time is nonexistent
you’re laughing like you used to do
but the most that I can seem to do is
smile at the illusions I had planned
cause now I hold your laughter in my hand
somehow it’s lost the power of command

I can’t feel it anymore
can’t conceal it anymore
neither joy nor pain can enter through a bolted door
and I can’t feel it anymore

ghost towns
they lived here once, but now they’re gone
they gave up all the hopes they...

Singer cover art

Lyrics & notes

18 Jan 1977

this morning when the sun rose
there was a rainbow in the clouds at the horizon
it made a circle 'round the sun
to warn the fleeing darkness
a multicolored halo
a ring to wed the weeping with the joy

and when the night had broken
the colors ran to take there proper places
the blue filled all the sky
the yellow crowned the sun
the green was told to wait another season
and whiteness fell to cover all the rest
and some fell in my eyes
and in my heart

You are the sunrise in my morning
You are the rainbow in my sky
the darkness...

Hinds' Feet cover art

Listen on YouTube

Lyrics

Lyrics by Hannah Hurnard,
based on The Song of Solomon

I am my love's and he is mine
and this is his desire
that with his beauty I may shine
in radiant attire
and this will be when all of me
is pruned and purged with fire

come, my beloved, let us go
forth to the waiting field
and where thy choicest fruit trees grow
thy pruning knife now wield
that at thy will and through thy skill
their richest store my yield

spices...

Singer cover art

Lyrics & notes

23 Sep 1975

Jesus never fails
Jesus never fails
I've got a friend who won't
ever forsake me
Jesus never fails

He gives me songs in the night
when the sleep won't come
He holds me tight
when all my other friends are sleeping
He hears me when I'm weeping
with lullabies so sweet
with love He bids my sorrows cease
with hands that knew the pain of nails
He wipes the tears away

℗ © Love's Music 1979, assigned to Creative Measures (ASCAP)

1979 Notes:

If I had to leave with the world only one song, I would...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jennifer Warnes, soundtrack from Winter People, 1989

Notes:

Like the last song, it starts out rather ordinary—"all I have to do is"—and then zings you at the end—"catch some lightning in a bottle." Like it's the easiest thing in the world. I'll just take a walk out on the water. Yeah, right. "Just one little miracle has to succeed." Just a little miracle. Ever needed one of those?

I remember a beautiful afternoon about 25 years ago, sitting out in back of my Ann Arbor apartment in a lawn chair,...

Freed cover art
I've Been Freed (MP3)

Lyrics & notes

8 Aug 1974

I've been seeing things that I just shouldn't see
and I've been trying to be things in my mind I shouldn't be
I've been going places I really shouldn't go
Lord, You're my last chance for life and love
I know, I know, oh

make me pure and holy, Lord
make me kind and true
make me free to love, Jesus
make me just like You
I remember when You used to be
my best and closest friend
and You always gave me
your sweet love
please help me to give it back again

I've been trying to feel things I've got no right to feel
I've gotten so confused...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

aka You Might As Well Smile
words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Art Garfunkel, Watermark, 1978

Notes:

These next three songs are so resolute and positive and indefatigable that I'm hoping they'll inspire you to forgive me for the previous two... This one's a lot like the Serenity Prayer, I think—only a lot more personal. The plea starts out so deadpan that it lulls you into a false sense of blitheness. "You might as well smile..." No high-sounding motivations or promises, just "no pain...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, Letters, 1972

Notes:

This is the most beautiful song about writing a song I've ever heard, and I think it completely blurs the line between poetry and music. Songwriting has always been a mystical thing to me, and "Simile" lays bare that mystery like no other song I know. Lonnie (my poet friend who sang backup on this) absolutely fell in love with this song as she was learning it and included the lyrics in her journal. Check out page 4 of Tunesmith, Jimmy's book on songwriting, to read some of the...

Jimmy cover art
Jimmy & Me (MP3)

words & music by Jimmy Webb

Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, Twilight Of The Renegades, 2005

Notes:

A friend helped me discover this song, for I had somehow missed it when it was first released. I love how the rootless, restless lyrics float over the rootless, restless harmonies. Just how a song about skywriting should be. And as far as the flying genre goes, this song is right up there with Joni's "Amelia" (a judgment I don't pronounce lightly).

We did a promo poster about the time my Singer album came out that said, "...

Syndicate content