Skip to comments.The Emotional Impact Of Glen Campbell
Posted on 02/16/2012 10:36:38 AM PST by WXRGina
Last night, before going to bed, I took a peek at the Grammys just in time to see Glen Campbell performing Rhinestone Cowboy. They announced that although he suffers from Alzheimers, he finished another album last year and is currently doing a farewell tour. His performance was exhilarating, with all the celebration of a victory lap. He kept pointing his mike at the audience as they sang along with him, blurring the difference between those on stage and those no longer seated in the audience. Everyone there seemed truly connected, more like a party than a performance.
Glen showed no sign of being affected by his disease until the number was over, the lights dimmed and his voice could be heard asking someone where he should go now. But at 75 years of age, that kind of temporary disorientation isnt at all unusual.
75 years old? The idea is a bit shocking. The older I get, the faster the world seems to change. I remember Glen Campbell as being so young. Thats how I think of him. This whole process of aging still amazes me. I dont think of myself as old. But everyone around me is getting so old. Why is that? Paul McCartney was in the audience (with his young wife #?) and hes really old, too.
Glen Campbell is an incredible musician. During his career he has played with a whos who list of super stars. But the biggest emotional impact he had on my life didnt have anything to do with his music. In 1969 he just happened to be in the movie, True Grit with John Wayne. I had just gotten out of the Army. As soon as I saw it, I wanted my 60 year old father to see it. Something about the character of Rooster Cogburn made me think of my father. He drank too much, smoked too much and had the rough edges of someone who, though educated, never lost the tough, country character of his youth.
When my sister and I were kids, hed tell us stories about summers he and his twin brother spent on his grandfathers ranch. What he and his brother learned was a mixture of the wisdom of his grandfathers hired hands and how to survive in a world of rattle snakes, mountain lions and wasps. It all sounded idyllic to a child of the suburbs.
I phoned my father and told him I wanted to take him to a movie. I was sure hed like it. Go to a movie? he asked, with the same intonation he would have used if I had suggested he take up knitting. He was real uncomfortable with the idea. His voice squirmed. He cited not being able to smoke or drink as proof of how distressing it would be for him sort of like having to go to church. He definitely wasnt a church goer. So, I suggested going to a drive-in theater, and he gave in. It was one of the few times I convinced him to do anything.
Drive-in theaters are pretty much a thing of the past. But 43 years ago they were still a big deal. This was long before Netflix. There were no movie rentals, no DVDs, no DVRs, no VCRs, no video streaming. Cable TV was in its infancy. The only movies on TV were old re-runs. The only place you could watch a current movie was in a theater, and drive-ins provided the privacy option for those not wanting to sit around a bunch of other folks.
I was the designated driver. We found a spot, hooked up the speaker, Dad opened his bottle and started to relax. Almost halfway through the film there was a sweeping panorama of the countryside. My father exclaimed, God! Thats beautiful. Looks like good fishing country. I dont think either of us realized True Grit was filmed near Bishop, CA, not far from where we had gone on several fishing trips.
When I was 18, my father and I spent a week fishing the lakes and streams above the McGee Creek Pack Station, north of Bishop on the eastern slopes of the Sierras. We rode in on horseback, packing our gear on mules. It took half a day to ride up there. The guide dropped us off at a camp site, and came back a week later to pick us up. It was the only time in my life that I got to spend exclusively with my dad. Something about that trip seemed to stir in both of us as we watched True Grit.
My father didnt know who Glen Campbell was. I explained that he was a popular singer, and that he sang the movies theme song. His one comment was, Hes a nice clean-cut kid. Not like those hippies.
That was the only time I can ever remember seeing a movie with my father. My sister tells me our whole family saw Song of the South together when I was two, but my memories of that is pretty sketchy. Its when I think of Glen Campbell that I remember watching True Grit with my father and a fishing trip we made north of Bishop.
I pray for the Lords continued blessings and mercy on Mr. Campbell and his family as they deal with his progressing disease.
Ooops...do not know where Beck came from....sheesh.
It was funny and provided a much-needed laugh today. Let's see, maybe we start a Glenn Miller thread, too! :-)
Early on, he played rythem and sang back-up for the beach boys.
Wichita Lineman ping.
Thanks for posting this wonderful story.
I’ve always loved Glen’s songs - Wichita Lineman, Gentle on My Mind, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Rhinestone Cowboy, etc.
This is the first video from his final studio album, “Ghost on the Canvas.”
“A Better Place” - very poignant.
I’ve always been a big fan of Glen as a singer and, especially, as a guitar player. I’d say he’s one of the five best pickers ever on that instrument. His version of GENTLE ON MY MIND is a classic.
What a career. One of, if not the best, studio session guitar players ever and one of the Beach Boys who filled in for Brian Wilson.
Here’s a good one with Jerry Reed
Ghost on the Canvas is very good too. Hard to listen to it without tear-ing up.
I still rate it as one of the best movies ever made. The recent remake, while excellent, wasn't in the same league as the original. John Wayne wasn't the only reason.
Not quite. Most of True Grit was filmed in and around Ridgeway, Colorado.
That’s some righteous guitar playin’! :-)
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston” were all Jimmy Webb songs.
If there are any aspiring songwriters out there, get and read the book “Tunesmith” by Webb.
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix” doesn’t mention the point of origin of the sojourn described in the song. I figure it’s probably Sonoyta, Sonora, or Los Algodones, BC, Mexico.
Great song from Glen. One of my favorites, A LADY LIKE YOU, dates back to the mid 80’s.
Well watching Song of the South is a thing of the past, I’ll warrant.
He’s from a bakery near Seattle. Beck, that is.
Written by the late, great, lamented, and unparalleled John Hartford. Oh, I miss him so. Along with Steve Goodman.
He's had some truly beautiful music and great songs over the years.