Jimmy Webb, "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress" (1977)
"The Moon's a Harsh Mistress" had already been recorded by Glen Campbell, Judy Collins and Joe Cocker by the time the songwriter himself got around to it. Webb was inspired by the Robert Heinlein novel's title that he said "haunted" him for years. "It's a song to jump out the window by," Collins said of Webb's emotionally devastating ballad. The cold, stony effect of his own version is due in large part to arranger George Martin, the first outside producer Webb had ever used. "We came down to the point where we felt we were going to do some string overdubs," Webb told Record Collector. "Well, I wanted him to do the arrangements. I'm no fool — I'm sitting there with George Martin! I wanted to hear what George was going to do more than what I was going to do." R.G.