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Glen Campbell: Rhinestone Cowboy, GUITAR PLAYER, & Jimmy

Webb, Songwriter by Alan L. Chrisman

(This is part of a series of blogs Ive been doing on some of the groups and on
some of the perhaps lesser-known songwriters and players behind some of rocks
classic artists and songs)-so far: Paul Revere & The Raiders, Johnny Rivers, The
Rascals, Rick Nelson, Del Shannon, Badfinger, Bob Marley, etc.)

Glen Campbell has recently announced that because he has Alzheimers, he has
recorded his last songs and a documentary on him, called Ill Be Me is being
released. He had many hits throughout the late 60s and 70s, among which are:
Gentle on my Mind, By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Wichita Lineman,
Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights. But some people may
not know that before that, he was also a session guitarist as part of The
Wrecking Crew , a much-used L.A. collective of musicians, who played on many
artists recordings and hits: The Mamas and The Papas ( California Dreamin),
Beach Boys (Good Vibrations, California Girls , Pet Sounds, The Byrds,(
Mr. Tamborine Man), Simon and Garfunkle, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, The Carpenters,
Phil Spector, The Monkees, 5th Dimension, and many, many more.
Glen Campbell grew up in Arkansas in a sharecropping family of 12. He was a
later part of The Champs, who had an instrumental hit, Tequilla in 1958 and in
64 he toured with the Beach Boys, replacing Brian Wilson. But in 1967, Campbell
had his first big hit with John Hartfords Gentle on my Mind. Then he followed
up with the best sellers, By the Time I get To Phoenix, and Wichita Lineman,
both written by Jimmy Webb. I mentioned Jimmy Webb in my earlier article on
Johnny Rivers. As I said, Rivers first discovered Webb, recording the first version
of Phoenix in 1966 and with Up Up and Away for the 5th Dimension, which
Rivers produced. Webb would also write a giant hit for actor Richard Harris,
McArthur Park, a seven minute extravaganza in 68.
In 1968, Campbell would be a summer replacement for the very popular
Smothers Bros.TV Show, which would lead to his own show from 69-72, in which
he had many musical guests like John Hartford, Anne Murray, and Jerry Reed.
Galveston, another Jimmy Webb composition was a chart-topper too. And in
the mid-70s, Campbell hit with his biggest seller, Rhinestone Cowboy and with
New Orleans Allen Toussaints Southern Nights. Campbell also did some acting,
appearing in John Waynes film, True Grit in 69.
Jimmy Webb, songwriter, would continue to write songs for Linda Ronstadt,
Barbra Streisand, John Denver, etc. He also released several solo albums
throughout the 70s of his own songs, including Words and Pictures (70), which
includes a songabout his fellow songwriter ,P. F. Sloan, (Eve of Destruction,
Secret Agent Man) whom I again talked about in my article on Johnny Rivers. He
also wrote Highwaymen for Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson and
Waylon Jennings. Jimmy Webb has both a book (93) and album (2003) about his
work, Tunesmith.
Glen Campbell, singer and guitar player, had several hits and played on many
others, not credited. Not bad for a southern boy and guitar picker! Campbell,
because of his advancing Alzheimers, doesnt always recognize some people, but
can still, evidently, sometimes play his guitar.

See GLEN CAMPBELL doing Jimmy Webb songs medley: