The songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan Let’s Begin (Jimmy Webb)

avignon 1981 bob dylan

Jimmy Layne Webb (born August 15, 1946) is an American songwriter, composer, and singer. He has written numerous platinum-selling songs, including “Up, Up and Away”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, “The Worst That Could Happen”, “All I Know”, and “MacArthur Park”. He has had successful collaborations with Glen Campbell, Michael Feinstein, The 5th Dimension, Art Garfunkel, and Richard Harris.

In addition, his compositions have been performed by many popular contemporary artists, including America, Johnny Cash, Rosemary Clooney, Joe Cocker, Judy Collins, John Denver, Amy Grant, Isaac Hayes, Thelma Houston, Billy Joel, Tom Jones, Johnny Maestro & the Brooklyn Bridge, Rod McKuen, Linda Ronstadt, R.E.M., Carly Simon, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Donna Summer, The Supremes, James Taylor, The Temptations, Dionne Warwick,Larry Coryell (The Real Great Escape) and Bob Dylan.

Webb was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986 and the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1990. He received the National Academy of Songwriters Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Award in 2003, the ASCAP “Voice of Music” Award in 2006, and the Ivor Novello Special International Award in 2012.

Jimmy Webb‘s song Let’s begin was first released on Leah Kunkel’s album, I run with trouble from 1980.

Bob Dylan performed it 18 times live in 1981. I found two very fine performances.

Let’s Begin – Avignon 1981-07-25 Bob Dylan sings a duet with Clydie King:

Let’s Begin – Vienna 1981-07-21:

– Hallgeir

4 thoughts on “The songs he didn’t write: Bob Dylan Let’s Begin (Jimmy Webb)”

  1. Holy cow, this is a gem I’ve never heard before. Thanks as always for uncovering these hidden pearls. What a live album Bob could release from over the years if he only wanted to! (I know, I know, his record company sort of attempted that, but the leftover stuff is very often spectacular.)

    1. I had hear it before, but I hadn’t really listened.

      There are so many hidden treasures buried in his live recordings, we just have to keep digging

      Thanks for all your comments!

      – Hallgeir

  2. Great research- I was at the 81 shows in London but didn’t know what I’d heard till now. I think Dylan’s version is moving in a way the original track isn’t. Indeed his whole vocal passion in ’81 was a revelation (no pun intended) x

Comments are closed.