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
The above quote is not a previously undiscovered poem in the Harry Potter series. But what is the connection between Albus Dumbledore and this silly poem…?
For those of you who grew up during the late 1970’s, the “poem” may sound vaguely familiar because it is an excerpt of “MacArthur Park”, a disco song famously performed by Donna Summer. So, still, where is the connection to Albus Dumbledore?
Now we are talking about those who grew up during the 1960’s. It is a little-known fact that Richard Harris, the actor who played the first Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movies, released an album in 1968 titled “A Tramp Shining.” “MacArthur Park” was released as a single the same year. It topped most European charts and made it to #2 in the US charts.
The song is named after a park in Los Angeles, California. The lyrics, as silly as they may seem, should be taken as symbolic rather than descriptive.
In more than one aspect, the song separated itself from the mass of great pieces created during the late 1960s through the early 1970s.
First, there is Richard Harris’ fascinating voice, however, with some slight shortcomings. He sings the song’s final chorus at an elevated pitch near the top of his falsetto – in layman’s terms, his singing voice did not quite reach a Donna Summer quality. Nevertheless, his voice is captivating.
On a side note: Throughout the song, Harris inaccurately uses the possessive form “MacArthur’s Park” instead of just “MacArthur Park”. It is said that producer Jimmy Webb, who also composed the song, tried to correct Harris during re-takes but finally gave up. Either Harris was unable or simply not willing to sing the proper version.
MacArthur Park is unusually complex for a pop song of its time. The total length of seven minutes and twenty-one seconds for a single record was beyond any standards in a time where most songs hardly reached the three-minute mark.
Several years later, longer songs became more fashionable. In 1975 Queen released Bohemian Rhapsody, a song of similar complexity but with a mere length of a little under six minutes. Hotel California by the Eagles, released in 1976, is still almost a minute shorter than MacArthur Park.