Jimmy Webb (born August 5, or, according to some, August 15, 1946 in Elk City, Oklahoma) is an idiosyncratic American popular music composer.
Jimmy Webb is responsible for writing numerous popular and Top 10 hits sung by a disparate group of vocalists, including Glen Campbell ("By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston"), Art Garfunkel ("All I Know"), Richard Harris ("MacArthur Park"), The Fifth Dimension ("Up, Up and Away") and The Highwaymen, consisting of Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, ("The Highwayman"), and many others.
Webb's father was a Baptist minister and a former Marine. His mother died when he was a teenager. His most popular songs were all composed when he was between 19 and 21 years of age.
"By The Time I Get To Phoenix" is one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century.
Webb has had his songs recorded by a wide range of artists, including R.E.M. and Frank Sinatra. As one of the few "classic" songwriter specialists of the rock age, he has been compared to the great composers/songwriters/arrangers of the past, including George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach. Webb's "The Girls' Song," according to the liner notes for the CD re-release of The Fifth Dimension album The Magic Garden, was explicitly intended as an homage to Bacharach.
He is noted for having written songs that were hits in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, and is the only person to receive Grammy Awards in all three categories: music, lyrics and orchestration. Webb has also written musicals, commercial jingles and film scores, including the music for the animated film The Last Unicorn. He has written for television as well, including music for the show ER.
Webb is also a performer of his own music, having released several albums beginning with 1970's "Words & Music", to 2005's "Twilight of The Renegades".
In 1998 he authored a book, Tunesmith: Inside the Art of Songwriting, which was well received by songwriters and performers. He still continues to do live performances.
He was elected to the National Academy of Popular Music Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986; in 1990 he was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame.