Favorite version: Jimmy Webb, Letters, 1972
(excerpt from Jimmy & Me album 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 story behind the song.
I have always found Jimmy’s piano part on this one so mesmerizing in all its undulations, so wedded to the feeling and meaning of the song, that I’ve done my best to recreate it here. I just couldn’t imagine substituting anything else.