“Wichita Lineman” is a song written by the American songwriter Jimmy Webb in 1968. It was first recorded by the American country music artist Glen Campbell with backing from members of The Wrecking Crew and was widely covered by other artists.
Campbell’s version, which appeared on his 1968 album of the same name, reached number 3 on the US pop chart, remaining in the Top 100 for 15 weeks. In addition, the song topped the American country music chart for two weeks and the adult contemporary chart for six weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in January 1969. The song reached number 7 in the United Kingdom. In Canada, the single topped both the RPM national and country singles charts. As of August 2017 the song has also sold 357,000 downloads in the digital era in the United States.
In 2010, Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” ranked “Wichita Lineman” at number 195. It has been referred to as “the first existential country song”. British music journalist Stuart Maconie called it “the greatest pop song ever composed”; and the BBC referred to it as “one of those rare songs that seems somehow to exist in a world of its own – not just timeless but ultimately outside of modern music”. “Wichita Lineman” was featured in series 12 of BBC Radio 4’s Soul Music, a documentary series featuring stories behind pieces of music with a powerful emotional impact.
In 2020, the song was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.
B-side “Fate of Man”
Released October 1968
Recorded May 27, 1968
August 14, 1968
Studio Capitol Records Hollywood, California
Genre Countrypopcountry rock
Label Capitol 2302
Songwriter(s) Jimmy Webb
Producer(s) Al De Lory