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Category:    Home > Essays > Music > Biography > History > Country > Pop > The Music Legacy Of Glen Campbell.

The Music Legacy Of Glen Campbell.



The second in our series of key music stars and artists have been lost in the shuffle of a music industry in flux; we take a look at the career of Glen Campbell.  When it was announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease, there was a serious wave of shock, anger and surprise from the many who knew him and enjoyed his music for decades.  He had had recent personal troubles, but has remained a favorite of music fans fart beyond the home of his genre of Country Music.  In his time, it was still known as Country & Western and the genre had not been sold out to slickness, flash and warmed-over sounds from other genres.


Ironically, his work in the late 1960s was a breakthrough for the genre nationally with his album By The Time I Get To Phoenix, a smash hit with a fresh new sound for the genre and the first Country Album to ever win the Grammy for Album Of The Year.  This would increase the popularity of Country Music worldwide, make an underrated wave of Country Pop in the 1970s possible and Campbell also found himself doing acting work and having a very popular hit TV music series.


Before his success, he was a session musician with a record that rivals that of a pre-Yardbirds/Led Zeppelin Jimmy Page playing guitar on cuts from Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, The Association, The Mamas & The Papas and The Monkees, as well as on The Beach Boys’ landmark classic album Pet Sounds, later touring with the band when Brian Wilson went into seclusion.  He was also part of a session musician group dubbed “The Wrecking Crew” who turned out to be as significant as Motown’s Funk Brothers. 


Moving to Capitol Records, his breakthrough was made possible in part by cutting many records by the late, great Jimmy Webb including By The Time I Get To Phoenix, Galveston, Wichita Lineman, Where’s The Playground Susie, Highwayman and Honey, Come Back.  He had several hit duets with Bobbie Gentry, best known for her classic Ode To Billy Joe and other hits like Gentle On My Mind, It’s Only Make Believe and I Wanna Live.  The mid-1970s saw a resurgence of hits including Southern Nights, Sunflower, Can You Fool and Rhinestone Cowboy, a hit so huge that it became one of the iconic hits for that whole decade.


If you want to really appreciate Campbell’s work, find a newer this set with all the above songs included.  After listening, you’ll understand just how much Country was changed forever by his artistic, critical and commercial success.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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