Thoughts on Kingdom, Church, and Grace from an American living in Hong Kong

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Glen Campbell & The Wichita Lineman

Was reading the paper on Sunday morning and the weekend section had a nice article on Glen Campbell highlighting the fact that, at 75 years old, the famed singer was embarking on a "farewell" tour due to his recent diagnosis of Alzheimer's.  It was a wonderful article detailing his fame, his struggle with alcohol and drugs, and even his relationship with God!

I remember my parents getting Campbell's Galveston album in the early 1970's and I played that record non-stop.   Over the years I've been a minor Glen Campbell fan and enjoyed tunes like the Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy, and Southern Nights. I even read his biography at one point. 

Probably one of my favorite songs ever though is Wichita Lineman which was made famous by Campbell but has been covered many, many times since.  I find the song hauntingly beautiful.  So many love songs today deal with young or "upper class" love.  Wichita Lineman is just a great blue-collar ballad about a county telephone man who is working hard and is dreaming about his lady.  Even the fact that the song roots itself in Wichita gives it the resonance of a time gone by... in an America that once was.

Anyhow, it's very sad to see Campbell's diagnosis with Alzeimer's.  Even during the article Campbell would lose track of where they were in the interview.  Admittedly part of the reason they made the diagnosis public was so that fans coming to see his farewell tour would be understanding when he occasionally flubbed a line.

I think his fans will love him just the same.  I only wish his tour included a trip to Hong Kong as an opportunity to see Glen Campbell is one I would not miss.

BTW, I include some You Tube clips I thought were great.  An early Campbell performing Wichita Lineman and then a cover done by REM which I thought was fantastic.  The last clip is the official video for his single off his last studio album Ghost on the Canvas.  Is it just me or is this guy still able to nail it??


Bob said...

Thanks Steve for a thoughtful tribute to a classic performer. Glen Campbell's home, Delite, Arkansas, was not too far from where I grew up. Some in AR are more proud of him than our other home boy made good, Bill Clinton. The way I look at it, they each made a unique contribution to the American landscape.

Don't know if you caught the CMA Awards there in HK, but Vince Gill, Brad Paisley and Keith Urban did a cool tribute to him with a medley of his songs, then brought him on stage.

His tour is coming through Nashville and I passed on getting tickets. Kind of regret it now.

Steve H. said...

Oh, Bob I wish I could switch places as I would LOVE to see Glen Campbell. I saw the CMA awards and nearly did a tribute part 2 as I thought it was a truly fitting tribute to a great performer. All three of the songs they sang (and they sand them wonderfully) are incredible songs. I could listen to them over and over my wife is quick to remind me