"By the time I get to Phoenix" in my opinion is about the first day of closure to dysfunctional and tedious relationship.This person finally realizes that getting out of this relationship will save his life, becuse they both have exhausted all of the possibilities to salvage it. He must have left early in the morning and mentally goes through the scenario of what his love would be doing and realizing at differnt points of her day and how much further he will be from her, where he can't go back.It's about a girl in a small town who has to leave because she is unmarried and pregnant.It starts out "Manhattan Kansas ain't no place to have a baby when you've got no man to give it a last name." Anybody else remember it or have the rest of the words?The lyrics imply that he has already left when she wakes up, so he could easily have left at, say, 1 am.6 hrs later, 7 am, "She'll be risin." 6-1/2 hours later, around PM, he's in Albuquerque.
On the same 'Bandstand' show he also performed the record's A-side, "Walk On By", and it peaked at #30 on the Top 100... I realise it is impossible to complete the journey in the timeframe Jimmy Webb suggests as the song is not about geographical but emotional distance.How many of us have played this tape over and over in our minds but never acted on it?When you know a relationship is trulely over but you are stuck due to fear, insecurities,etc. He can take a simple story (like this song) but make it a canvas for someone to color in their own personal experiences.The whole situation could be gently humorous, as in the song, "What do you get when you fall in love?
"Tony, the Wikipedia entry for this song ( has a section on the possible journey from LA to Phoenix and it concludes that the song's time frame is unfeasible.steve from calif.On August 16th 1969, Isaac Hayes performed "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'... Two months earlier on October 28th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; eventually it peaked at #26 and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100... Fuel stops at Phoenix and Albuquerque, he crosses the Texas Panhandle into OK in about 8 hours.