Glen Campbell is Gone.

We knew this was coming. The Big A claimed him some years back and he had a dignified last stand.

But today, my first thought was Gentle on My Mind, which is I think the first time I ever knew his name.

My second thought was watching them shoot Rhinestone Cowboy, the movie, on Bank Street. By them I mean Dolly Parton and Sylvester Stallone.

My third thought was plumbing the depths of Campbell’s time in the Wrecking Crew and the Beach Boys.

But finally, really, this bit of corny soundtrack to a good movie he starred in and contributed the soundtrack is a testament to his giant talent and versatility and big hearted spirit. A little more country than rock ‘n’ roll, a little more mainstream than any of us would like, he cut a big swath across the culture. Good for him.

4 thoughts on “Glen Campbell is Gone.

  1. A big part of my country lightbulb coming on over the past 25 years was realizing what kickass players guys like Campbell and Roy Clark were. To a little kid growing up in the ’60s, they were too often portrayed as buffoons. Hopefully the cash was worth it; their musical talents deserved it.

  2. Exactly. One of the reasons all the crappy country is today’s rock ‘n’ roll is the musicians still play. Not always good tunes, or good ideas, but the old ethos of playing music. The “rock” bands that chart today don’t play rock.

  3. Glenn Campbell sort of so modifies my experience with art and even music to a large degree, and my tastes as I got older.

    When I was 15, and the anti-Viet Nam stuff was going full tilt boogie, Campbell came out with my favorite treatment of Buffy St. Marie’s “Universal Soldier.” Much as I liked Donovan, Campbell’s with the electric guitar and suspended A and D chords just chimed in a way I liked.

    But, then he became sort of a silly country artist to me, and then he was awful in the first movie treatment of True Grit that Peter noted. But, it was the 60’s and John Wayne was a war monger and besides, I had read the Charles Portis book when it came out and the movie wasn’t nearly as good as the book anyway. So there.

    So, along with that for years I dismissed Campbell and Wayne, but then in my late 30’s, I began really exploring older films and especially thanks to John Ford and Henry Hathaway, I started to appreciated Wayne differently, and now I really like the original “True Grit” better than the Coen Brothers remake (which is also good, but not as funky, plus, how can you beat young Robert Duvall as Lucky Ned Pepper?

    Furthermore, as the Biletones have crawled more and more into the realm of alt country and rock a billy, well, suddenly Campbell’s guitar playing is wonderful and his outfits no more garish than Kenny Vaughn.

    Here is the “Universal Soldier” from Glenn, and he is shirtless and it is tacky, but it is the only original recording I could find on youtube. So, close your eyes.

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