The recent comment on this site by Citizen K reminded me of the great feature he has started on his blog (link on the right). He’s leading off his blog with the first lines of a written work. And this reminded me of a first line story from Jimmy Webb.
The famous composer of popular and serious music wrote a book in 1998 called “Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting.”
Here’s the first parasgraph of his Wikipedia entry.
Jimmy Layne Webb is an American songwriter. His compositions include “Up, Up, and Away,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston,” and “MacArthur Park”. His songs have been recorded or performed by Glen Campbell, The Fifth Dimension, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and Bob Dylan, among others. According to BMI, his song “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was the third most performed song in the fifty years between 1940 to 1990. He is the only artist to have ever received Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration.
A few years ago a CBC (public radio similar to NPR) radio program in Canada did about an hour long tribute to Jimmy Webb, with a lot of his songs, biography, lengthy interview including comments about his songwriting book.
Near the end, the host said I’m going to fire a few quicky questions at you. Webb agreed. One of those questions was this: “What is the best opening line of any song you have ever heard?”
Webb instantly replied: “That’s easy:
I passed you,
On the street.
And my heart,
Fell at your feet.
And that’s my Hank Williams first line story, with a hat tip to Citizen K.