Video of the Week: Glen Campbell’s Phenomenal Guitar Solos

Video of the Week: British Guitarist Analyses Glen Campbell and Roy Clark at Once

Video of the Week: Interview with Alice Cooper on Late Musician Glen Campbell

Video of the Week: Glen Campbell–A Better Place

Video of the Week: Glen Campbell Encore!

Just a few posts ago, Mr. Glen Campbell stepped out for a blazing solo. Well, he was just getting started. Here’s an encore performance from one of popular music’s most overlooked guitar greats.

Video of the Week: Glen Campbell Steps Out for a Solo

Seated among a Who’s Who of country greats that includes Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, Willie Nelson and Ray Stevens, Glen Campbell steps out for a typically flashy solo on his classic “Gentle on My Mind”.

Tell me again, Rolling Stone, how Kurt Cobain is one of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.

Songs You May Have Missed #136


Sagittarius: “My World Fell Down” (1967)

This song, whose harmonies and complex arrangement split the difference between the Mamas & the Papas, the Beach Boys and perhaps the Cowsills, certainly sounds like a top ten hit from 1967. And probably only the trippy sound collage and organ/vocal break (from 1:50 and 2:50) held it back. Strangely, only the single version of the song (see below video) contains this 60-second bit of psychedelia, while the more straightforward, sub-3:00 LP version included here probably would have been a top ten hit as the single.

Still, you can’t fault ambition, even at the cost of a gold record, right? As it was, the song still charted, but only rose to #70 nationally. I’m guessing it did somewhat better in San Francisco than Peoria.

Sagittarius was a trio comprised of Beach Boy Bruce Johnston, Beach Boy collaborator (and co-writer of “In My Room”) Gary Usher, and, believe it or not, Glen Campbell (that’s him on lead vocals). The influence of producer and studio genius Curt Boettcher, whose work with the Association helped define the sixties’ sunshine pop sound, is also evident in the vocal mix.

Johnston, incidentally, was Glen Campbell’s replacement in the Beach Boys. He also wrote what became Barry Manilow’s signature tune, “I Write the Songs”, which he is said to have written about Brian Wilson.

Glen Campbell’s Final Tour – CBS Sunday Morning


Glen Campbell Looks Back on Life and Career in ‘A Better Place’

(reprinted from Rolling Stone)

Country icon Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease last year, and in this touching new video for “A Better Place,” Campbell revisits his life and career, sitting down with Josh Homme to flip through a book of memories as he says farewell. Campbell reflects on his childhood, the start of his music career and his later life as he performs the song in interspersed cuts. Campbell shares a personal message at the video’s end to his wife, Kimberley, and to his fans.

“Ghost on the Canvas is the last studio record of new songs I ever plan to make,” reads the statement. “Now it’s just time to close that book.”


Glen Campbell: I Came, I Saw, I Cheered…I Cried a Little Too

Tonight I saw Glen Campbell on the Pittsburgh stop of his Goodbye Tour. I went there fully expecting to be sad…I planned to be sad, and was okay with it. And sad was one of the emotions I experienced. But I also felt thrilled, amazed, amused, touched and blessed.

I bought the ticket for other reasons than the desire to feel sad, among them the fact that I’ve always had a soft spot for the masterpieces of pop (many written by Jimmy Webb) that Campbell gave us. My father too was a fan before me. I figured the price of a couple tickets was the least I could do to say thanks, on behalf of myself and my dad, for the lifetime of great music.

But I feel the “sad” needs some explanation, because when I told some people I was going to see Glen Campbell, who suffers from moderate-stage Alzheimer’s disease and is soon to retire from music, they didn’t understand why I’d want to see something so sad. The reason became clear to me right around the time the Rhinestone Cowboy sang his last-ever Pittsburgh encore, “A Better Place”, the song in the above video. So let me explain:

My late-starting concert-going career (I was a high school senior when I saw my first show) cost me the chance to see many of the bands I grew up listening to while they were at their peak of popularity. Since attending concerts has become more of a passion in the second half of my life, I’ve seen bands well past their prime on many, many occasions. Of course, I wonder how it would have been to see Yes in ’72 or the Who’s original lineup, or the Dark Side of the Moon tour, but I’ve actually become aware of a certain attraction in seeing the same artists in their present, geriatric stage. It’s partly because I have no choice, of course. But it’s something else too.

Tonight I came to a fuller realization of what draws me to see artists in decline: it’s truer art.

If a musician is an artist (and he is of course) and one of the purposes of art is to help us to see something about ourselves (and it is of course) then the aging, well past his prime musician has as much to “say” as the pop star at the peak of his powers. It’s a different something, but equally valid. And he says it not only in his lyrics, but with his performance.

My dad taught me countless things at many stages of my life. And as his health declined and then he passed away almost a decade ago, he taught me something else: how to die. I hadn’t seen it done before, except by grandparents when I was too young to relate. But I knew my dad. He was close. And I thought he was as immortal as…me. And so as he died (with all the customary dignity with which he lived) he gave me a needed frame of reference about the process.

Worthwhile music informs our frame of reference in much the same way. Life is art, art is life. We can learn about aging, loneliness, melancholy and acceptance of fate from a lyric. Or we can see it in the performer onstage.

Glen Campbell spent 90 minutes or so showing me that even after you need a teleprompter to sing the lyrics, you can be an unbelievable guitarist. He showed me that you can do amazing things despite the wicked curveballs life throws you, especially if you have your family nearby (three of his children are actually in his touring band).

He showed me some of the same things I see each time Steve Howe walks onstage before my eyes and my brain must once again extend its comprehension of how old a rock guitarist can look and still shred it up…or when I see the two female backup singers added to a band’s lineup to get the high notes the barrel-chested lead singer once reached with ease…or when Robert Plant shows the good judgment not to reunite with Jimmy Page and call it Led Zeppelin…or when I see Roger Daltrey wearing a shirt. Artist growing old aren’t really sad unless they’re trying to act like they’re still 22. In fact, some are just growing into their songs. But they find a way to go on as artists, just as we all must find ways to go on, as whatever we may be.

Yeah, I felt a little like I was in Branson tonight, amidst the baldies and blue-hairs. But that was okay, because it was Glen freaking Campbell onstage, and I was lucky to be watching him. He’s a legend to me. Like my dad. And his courage in being up there, and his willingness to see it all through, and the poignancy of the songs all combined to move me in a deeper way than if I’d decided to see the Avett Brothers tonight instead.

Sad is great art. Glen Campbell’s songs always seemed beautifully sad to me. But all the more so now that he personifies beautiful sadness. And since the years have piled some sadness on me. I get Glen Campbell now. Because there’s been a load of compromisin’ on the road to my horizon, too.


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