Hive Five: A Glen Campbell Appreciation

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As was revealed yesterday by People, iconic country musician Glen Campbell is battling Alzheimer's and will release the final recording of his career, Ghost of the Canvas, on August 30. The album features new tunes written by Paul Westerberg, Robert Pollard, Jakob Dylan and Campbell himself, along with recording sessions featuring the Dandy Warhols, Billy Corgan and classic surf-guitarist, Dick Dale. Such is a testament to the power and influence of Campbell’s music over the years; one of the first pop-country crossovers, who blended orchestral arrangements with good ol’ stories about America. Get to know Campbell through these five career highlights.

1. “Wichita Lineman” (1968)

This tune was originally written by Jimmy Webb, but only turned into a hit after Campbell got a hold of it. It’s an odd tale of a electric power worker who finds himself contemplating his own loneliness as he spends his days servicing those electric wire poles. [Watch here.]

2. “True Grit” on The Johnny Cash Show (1969)

Campbell was tapped by John Wayne to play La Boeuf in the original True Grit, where he received a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. He also recorded the titular song for the soundtrack, of which he performs here on the Johnny Cash Show. [Watch here.]

3. “Crying Time” with Ray Charles, Live on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour (Circa 1969-1972)

As was common for popular singers at the time, Campbell hosted his own variety show on CBS, called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. During it's time, it featured san array of musical guests from all different genre, such as Stevie Wonder, Willie Nelson, Petula Clark and Sarah Vaughn. In this clip, Campbell duets with Ray Charles on “Crying Time,” a Buck Owens original. Dig the banter upfront. [Watch here.]

4. “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975)

Though a version was released by his peer Neil Diamond, it was Campbell's uplifting take that peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. [Watch here.]

5. “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry/Southern Nights” Melody (circa late 1970s)

One of Campbell’s last No. 1's was Allen Touissant's tune “Southern Nights." But rather than go the orchestral route, as shown in this clip from Dublin, he puts some swamp boogie into his step after a gorgeous cover of Hank Williams' forlorn ballad, “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” [Watch here.]