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Someone left the cake out in the rain

Updated on Saturday, October 26 at 7:45 p.m. EDT. Just added a few more links.

Photo: Sir...Richard...Harris!

Sir…Richard…Harris! “I want to be bishop….keeeeng….Pope!” He passed away in London this week.

Being Filipino, I have a higher tolerance for disco and musical theatre than what is normally allowed for straight men. So when Camelot came to the O’Keefe Centre (now known as the Hummingbird Centre) in Toronto during the fall of 1985 — a return to the theatre where it was performed for the very first time, twenty-five years earlier, I went willingly. The role of Lancelot was played by its original actor, Robert “Cajun Christmas” Goulet as was King Arthur’s, by none other than Sir Richard Harris. After the show, he gracefully went out into the lobby and autographed souvenir programs, one of which was mine. I’ll have to dig it out of “the memory box”, now a large crate where I keep stuff like that.

The kids know him as Albus Dumbledore, beloved headmaster of Hogwarts Academy in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone or as Emperor Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator, older filmgoers know him from This Sporting Life, Heroes of Telemark, A Man Called Horse or The Guns of Navarone, but I will remember him for his hit single — that completely bombastic, over-the-top anthem for anyone who’s ever lamented over what-could-have-been: MacArthur Park.

MacArthur Park became a little bit of an in-joke between me and my friends Ryan and George when we worked together at our summer job designing and producing the student directory and daytimer for Queen’s University. We’d been watching the SCTV episode in which Dave Thomas lampooned Richard Harris. “Harris” appears on the music show “Mel’s Rock Pile” and proceeds to do an extended version of the already-long MacArthur Park, getting more exhausted by the second and screaming “somebody get me a bloody towel!” during the upbeat rock bridge. We also enjoyed the SCTV episode in which “Harris” played the title role in “The Man Who Would be King of Popes“. Harris then became our unofficial mascot of sorts, and MacArthur Park was our unofficial anthem — it ended up getting mentioned in the “thank you” section of our the directory and daytimer.

A tip of the hat to you, Mr. Harris — rest in peace. And for those of you old enough to remember MacArthur Park, here are the lyrics, in all their soggy-baked-goods-metaphoric glory:

MacArthur Park

Music and lyrics by Jimmy Webb

Sung by Sir…Richard…Harris!

Spring was never waiting for us, girl

It ran one step ahead

As we followed in the dance

Between the parted pages and were pressed

In love’s hot, fevered iron

Like a striped pair of pants

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark

All the sweet, green icing flowing down

Someone left the cake out in the rain

I don’t think that I can take it

‘Cause it took so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again

Oh, no!

I recall the yellow cotton dress

Foaming like a wave

On the ground around your knees

The birds, like tender babies in your hands

And the old men playing checkers by the trees

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark

All the sweet, green icing flowing down

Someone left the cake out in the rain

I don’t think that I can take it

‘Cause it took so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again

Oh, no!

[The short break]

There will be another song for me

For I will sing it

There will be another dream for me

Someone will bring it

I will drink the wine while it is warm

And never let you catch me looking at the sun

And after all the loves of my life

After all the loves of my life

You’ll still be the one

I will take my life into my hands and I will use it

I will win the worship in their eyes and I will lose it

I will have the things that I desire

And my passion flow like rivers through the sky

And after all the loves of my life

After all the loves of my life

I’ll be thinking of you

And wondering why

[The extended “somebody give me a bloody towel!” break — everybody go-go dance!]

MacArthur Park is melting in the dark

All the sweet, green icing flowing down

Someone left the cake out in the rain

I don’t think that I can take it

‘Cause it took so long to bake it

And I’ll never have that recipe again

Oh, no!

Oh, no

No, no

Oh no!!

If you want the MIDI version, check out this page.

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