In appreciation of the music of Glen Campbell

I know my musical tastes have mellowed over the years, and I am not ashamed to say so. Harder Rock is still my favorite genre, yet softer songs now have greater appeal to me than ever.

As a result, I have a growing appreciation of the music of the late Glen Campbell who passed away in 2017 from Alzheimer’s. You have to be 60+ to remember when Campbell was young, first as a short-term stand-in (for Brian Wilson) Beach Boy on tour, but more notably then as a hit maker and a breakout star with his own TV show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.  

He felt passe to me back in the 60s. At the time his songs felt kind of saccharine and his wholesome demeanor felt a bit Silent Majority-ish to me. His music had more adult than youth appeal. I was in fact a “yute” back then, as Cousin Vinny would say. But I am no longer so yute-ful, and as a result have come to greatly appreciate his music. But back then I thought his songs were too soft. I thought his TV show was cringe-worthy and not edgy. Perhaps all true, but now what was cringe-worthy then now seems different in the rear-view mirror.

The Glen Campbell story is an interesting one.

Early in his career Campbell was session musician and became part of a group of studio musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew, the studio band for countless hits for top artisits of the early 60s

After becoming a solo artist, he placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard’s Hot 100, Country Chart, and Adult Contemporary Chart of which 29 made the top 10, and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts.

What I also realized as I dug deeper is that his songs that I like best were tunes written by Jimmy Webb including:

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

Wichita Lineman


Where’s the Playground, Susie?

Jimmy Webb had also written many other personal favorites including MacArthur Park (Richard Harris) and Up, Up and Away (Fifth Dimension) and many others. The Campbell-Webb combo was wonderful.

Glen Campbell continued to perform last decade, even after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. He passed away in 2017. But his music lives and now makes me smile, and no longer cringe.

More Strumings


  1. Len,
    Mom kinda had a crush on Glenn when I was yute.. We had several albums and I know his music well, beyond the hits you listed. I did a book report in 6th grade on a biography. He had a difficult personal life…divorce, battling the bottle, and later other drugs…it seems that frequently as up as his music got us, it brought hi equally low. some people have hard lives, and some don;t. Your tribute is appropriate and befitting. Thanks for taking the time.

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