Monday, November 17, 2008

Glen Campbell & Jimmy Webb - Perfect fit

Wandering around the BBC website, I stumbled across an on-line recording of Glen Campbell's recent concert in London.
Link if a passing reader happens to be a fan of his.

I was a lukewarm fan, back in the day, but my fanship really only extended to his versions of Jimmy Webb songs: "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", and a couple of others. Without these songs, my guess is that he'd have remained a guitar player to the illustrious, which he already was before breaking into vocal stardom. He is said to be one of America's top session guitarists.

What is rather unexpected about his very successful association with Jimmy Webb is that Campbell is described as "a hawkish Republican", while Webb was something of a hippie, and therefore very liberal in his politics.

"It doesn't really matter if Glen Campbell was Jimmy Webb's best interpreter or if Webb gave Campbell his best songs -- in other words, it doesn't matter who helped the other more -- because it doesn't change the essential fact that the duo fit each other so naturally. Webb's intricate, idiosyncratic compositions sounded warm and accessible in Campbell's hands, while... More the songs revealed Campbell's musical range and ambition. Other singers had big hits with Webb's songs and Campbell made tremendous music with other people's songs, but there was something special about their collaboration that was evident on their big hits of the '60s: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman," "Galveston," "Where's the Playground, Suzie?." These songs provided the background for Reunion, the 1974 album where Campbell and Webb reunited for a set of Webb songs"
(Extract from article here)

I decided to look at the two natal charts to see if I could spot anything in common.

Glen Campbell born on 22 April 1936 in Delight, Arkansas at 8.14pm.

Jimmy Webb born in Elk City, Oklahoma 15 August 1946.

Click on image to enlarge.

I can't find time of birth for Jimmy Webb, so for ease of comparison have shown both charts set for 12 noon. The additional information: Campbell's ascendant is 20.45 Scorpio, Moon at 24.51 Taurus.

Well now! Campbell is a multiple Taurean, Webb a multiple Leo/Libran. Libra and Taurus are both ruled by Venus, planet of the arts including, of course, music, both signs are very strongly featured in these charts. That's one connection: Venus rulership and stelliums in each of Venus's signs.

However, although Venus-ruled signs feature strongly, the two signs are not highly compatible. Taurus is Fixed Earth, Libra Cardinal Air. The signs re quincunx one another, which is astrologese for describing an irritable scratchy relationship with little in common. Personality-wise it's quite likely they have little in common, especially bearing in mind Webb's Leo planets, square to some of Campbell's Taurus group. Their music is the only bond.

Another point worth noting, Jimmy Webb has no planets in Earth in his chart, Glen Campbell has none in Air. Elementally and musically, it could be said that they complete each other. And that pretty much explains it for me!


Anonymous said...

Hi Twi!

I've got 8:20 AM for Jimmy Webb via Astrodatabank, but it's received a 'C' rating as the accuracy is in question. That gives him a 20 Virgo 50 ASC--
hope that's of help!


Twilight said...

Hi Julie~~ Thank you for that.
If accurate it'd provide another link, in that their ascendants would be sextile (20 Scorpio and Virgo) as well as Campbell's Moon and Webb's ascendant in trine (Taurus and Virgo). It would mean that Webb does have Earth in his chart after all - but not via planets.

Interesting! Thanks again, Julie.

Wisewebwoman said...

I like Glen's voice and interpretations of the Webb songs but odd thing, T. I can't bear looking at him. He literally creeps me out.
Wonder why that is? He doesn't remind me of anyone.
PS Past lives? ;^)

anthonynorth said...

It's often the case that opposites provide the best experiences. I often think of Lennon & Macartney - the brilliance of their collaborations, yet mostly just good songs after they broke up.
Was it their antagonisms for each other that drove them on to compete more? Alchemy works in mysterious ways.

Twilight said...

WWW ~~ I know exactly what you mean! I think, when that happens it's a kind of psychic thing coming into play. Reading faces.
There's the "reading stars" thing too - finding you like someone a lot then discovering their astrology matches your own in some way. That happens a lot to me.

Twilight said...

AN ~~~ Yes, that's a good point!

Opposites can energise each other in the way those of similar types don't. I suppose that is a kind of alchemy.

My husband often mentions the rather unusual bond between Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Ellington was a womaniser and Strayhorn was gay, yet together they collaborated and made timeless jazz.

Interesting topic!

Anonymous said...


"Witchita Lineman" is one of my favorite songs of all time.

The guys from Heaven 17 once did a credible remake, but like your spot on posts about sequels, nobody did it better than Glen.

robert phoenix

Anonymous said...

That was remakes, not sequels. :-)

Twilight said...

Hi Anonyomous (Robert)

;-) I grumbled at your blog earlier. Sorry. - And thank you for popping by.

I'd never heard of Heaven 17, but Wiki tells me they are from Sheffield - in my own county of Yorkshire. I doubt they'd have the required feeling for Wichita Lines that Glen Campbell had. You're right, he made a classic there, and on several others.

Some Beatles re-makes I find very worthwhile, so for me, in music it does work sometimes. I used to look on the Beatles as jingles merchants, until I came to the USA and found the husband and family look on them as iconic. After listening to lots of different versions of their music as well as the originals, I now agree, but prefer the re-make versions of several of their songs.

I suppose it is the mark of good music (Beatles) when it can stand remakes, and the mark of genius when it really cannot (as in Jimmy Webb/ Glen Campbell)