I just read that they’ve filmed a documentary on Glen Campbell, who completed his final tour and album in 2012. A lot of people just think of Glen Campbell as the guy who sang, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” but he was really an influential musician. He started his career as a session guitarist in Los Angeles and played on sessions for The Byrds, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, The Monkees, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley and The Beach Boys, among others.
And he did more than just record for The Beach Boys, he became a full-fledged member of the touring band from December 1964 to early March 1965. He played bass and sang Brian Wilson’s parts, while Brian stayed home to work on writing songs and recording.
In 1967, Campbell recorded, “Gentle On My Mind,” written by John Hartford and the song became a hit and started off his successful solo career that lasted for decades.
In 2011 it was announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and he went of a final, “Goodbye Tour” that ended on November 30, 2012 in Napa, California.
He’s currently a patient at an Alzheimer's long-term care and treatment facility.
Below are a few of my favorite Glen Campbell songs.
Guess I’m Dumb
“Guess I’m Dumb” is a song that was written by Brian Wilson and Russ Titleman and it was produced by Brian Wilson. Supposedly this was Brian’s gift to Glen Campbell for filling in for him on the ‘64-’65 tour. It wasn’t quite the gift that kept on giving though, it failed to chart and didn’t give Campbell’s solo career much juice at the time. He’d have to wait a couple of years for that to happen, so in the meantime he went back to session work.
Gentle On My Mind
This is the song that jet-propelled Glen Campbell to stardom. It was written by John Hartford and started a working relationship between the two that carried on to Campbell’s successful TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. It won two Grammy’s in 1968, one going to Harford for Best Folk Performance and one to Campbell for Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance.
Glen Campbell’s version is known as the definitive verson of the song, but it’s been recorded by over 300 artists including: Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, R.E.M., Lucinda Williams and Leonard Nimoy. That last one doesn’t compute!
Glen Campbell was never a political person and would never comment about this song being an anti-war song about the Vietnam war that was going on when this single was released in 1969. However the writer of the song, Jimmy Webb, has been quoted as saying that it definitely was an anti war song. Either way, it was big hit for Glen Campbell at the time.
By The Time I Get To Phoenix
This song started a string of hits that Glen Campbell had working with songwriter, Jimmy Webb. Johnny Rivers recorded the song in 1965 and it flopped for him. Two years later, riding on the wave that started with, “Gentle On My Mind,” Glen Campbell recorded it and it was a hit that established him as a force to be reckoned with in the world of pop music. This is the song that really established him as country music’s first “crossover” artist, paving the way for artists like Kenny Rogers in the future.
Yet another Jimmy Webb song that was released in 1968 and hit the number three spot on the U.S. pop charts. This song has been covered by such diverse artists as: José Feliciano, Kool & The Gang, Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66 and Urge Overkill. It was listed at #192 on Rolling Stone’s "500 Greatest Songs of All Time".
In 2008, Glen Campbell released, “Meet Glen Campbell.” It was a collection of covers of modern day pop songs including, "Times Like These" by The Foo Fighters, "These Days" by Jackson Browne, "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" by Green Day and “Walls,” by Tom Petty. The album was produced by Julian Raymond and Howard Willing. Musicians appearing on the album included Robin Zander and Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick. Five of Glen Campbell’s children sing backup on the album. It was received largely with critical praise.
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