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Icon 24 posted      Profile for snopes   Author's Homepage   E-mail snopes       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Comment: Is there a hidden meaning within the lyrics, "Wichita Lineman" by
Glen Campbell? I have heard that the song refers to cocaine.

Posts: 36029 | From: Admin | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Little Sales Drummer Boy

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I think it's pretty clear he's talking literally: "I am a lineman for the county."
Posts: 2711 | From: Texas | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Deck the Malls

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If we are to beleive some random webpage:

'This was written by Jimmy Webb, who also wrote Campbell's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Galveston." He was driving along the Kansas-Oklahoma border when he saw a lonesome telephone lineman working atop a telephone pole. This gave him the idea for the song.'
So "refers to cocaine" seems pretty dubious. I dunno, maybe the lonesome telephone lineman was roasted out of his mind while he was working or something.

There is this interesting post from the bottom of that page:

Re the line, "and I need you more than want you, and I want you for all-time" One of Jimmy Webb's trademarks are lyrics which are ambiguous, cryptic and sometimes contradictory. I heard him explain in an interview once that he puts these sorts of lines in a song because it acts as a hook, making people curious about the song, and also gives them the space to make their own meaning out of it. Macarthur Park is the classic example of this technique.
- Mark, Sydney, Australia

"...Space to make their own meaning..."

Sweet. Let's try it out.

I am a lineman for the county

I was a lineman for my high school. We went 11-2 my senior year. GO TIGERS!

and I drive the main roads

This part actually could be about cocaine, because everybody knows that you buy the best drugs on Main Street in Wichita.

searching in the Sun for another overload

I do my searching for overlords on the web, it makes it much easier to find a dark master.

What? OH. overload. Yeah, well that makes more sense.

I hear you singing in the wire
and I can hear you through the whine
and the Wichita lineman is still on the line

Sounds like our lonely electrician is a creepy, peeping-tom stalker.

I know I need a small vacation


but it don't look like rain

It do not? What do it look like?

if it snows that stretch down south won't ever stand the strain

Daaaaah... Ok, I'm guessing that this refers to a "stretch" of line, and if it snows on it, it'll be too heavy and break? Maybe?

and I need you more than want you
and I want you for all-time
and the Wichita lineman is still on the line

Can't help but read this and think of Homer Simpson singing his own "on hold" music.


Mr. Sagan did not go too fars, If you just took the time to scan its,
You'd count billions and billions of stars, And billions and billions of planets.

Posts: 332 | From: Kansas City, MO | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
God Rest Ye Merry Merchants

Icon 1 posted      Profile for MacLloyd     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
For a couple of years I shared an office with a really nice guy who had the most amazing history. To look at him you would never know all the things he had done, but that is another story.

One of his past lives was as a musician who wroked extensively with Jimmy Webb, mostly doing arrangements for him and playing on recordings. Anyway, I just asked him about this and he confirms the "driving down the highway" inspiration for the song.

He also noted that Jimmy Webb absolutely hates being asked about what his songs "mean" especially "MacArthur Park".

"May you make the Yuletide pay!"

Posts: 811 | From: Arcadia, CA | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator

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