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The Wichita Lineman Reviews

The Wichita Lineman by Dylan  Jones (Editor)

The Wichita Lineman: Searching in the Sun for the World's Greatest Unfinished Song

Dylan Jones (Editor)

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: Music, Non-fiction
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 1 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9780571353408

It's just a masterfully written song.' Glen Campbell 'I love the song because its as though it's been in my life forever.' Amy Raphael 'It's not just the perfect pop song, it's almost perfect as an idea, existing outside of the song itself.' Stuart Maconie.

4 stars out of 5
Alexander Larman
13 Aug 2019

"lively and revelatory"

It might seem hubristic to write a book about one song, no matter how good it is, but Dylan Jones’s lively and revelatory study of Jimmy Webb’s impossibly moving ballad Wichita Lineman amply justifies its existence. Made popular by Glen Campbell, the song was recorded in an unfinished form, but, as Jones authoritatively explores its creation, reception and near-mythic aftermath, one understands why none other than Bob Dylan referred to it as the greatest song ever written.

Reviews

3 stars out of 5
Peter Blackstock
6 Aug 2019

"balancing insight from the record’s creators with its influence on American culture"

Though it’s one of the 20th century’s most captivating and enduring songs, “Wichita Lineman” still seems more suited for a chapter in an anthology than the subject of an entire book. Yet author and GQ editor Dylan Jones builds a worthy case for the long view, balancing insight from the record’s creators with its influence on American culture and personal reflections on its artistry... Less fulfilling is a chapter titled “The Lineman’s Afterlife”, which could have been the perfect place to delve deeper into the hundreds of “Wichita Lineman” covers recorded across a half-century... But a summary-list of three dozen others gives just a namecheck to soul singer OC Smith, whose radiant rendition outshone even those by Ray Charles and Tom Jones. Instead we get self-indulgent reminiscences of Jones crooning the song in piano bars with friends, though lounge pianist Rod Melvin’s eloquent appraisal of its musical sophistication is a redeeming addition.