“He was so well thought of as an all-around entertainer” said Alice Cooper of his friend Glen Campbell. Those undisputable talents are on full display again thanks to the new album, Glen Campbell Live From The Troubadour. The album features Glen from 2008 in his last live performance before a sell out crowd. Live From The Troubadour was released by Big Machine Records on July 23.
Glen Campbell was one of the most influential music artists of the last 60 years. Born in Arkansas in 1936, he got his start as a session musician playing guitar for the legendary Wrecking Crew in Los Angeles. The Wrecking Crew were a revered collective of the greatest session musicians in the world during the 1960s and 1970s and Glen was a key member. Recording for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, The Mamas and the Papas and The Righteous Brothers (among many others), The Crew appeared on several hundred Top 40 hits during their heyday. In 1964 and 1965, Campbell joined The Beach Boys on tour, filling in for Brian Wilson.
As a solo artist, Campbell led an astonishing career. His massive hits included “Gentle on My Mind”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, and “Rhinestone Cowboy”. In 2012, he was bestowed the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. To date, his albums have surpassed sales of 50 million worldwide. Sadly, Glen lost his battle with Alzheimer’s disease in August of 2017. He was 81 years old. However, the virtuoso retained his amazing ability, and his latest album showcases exactly that.
The show took place at the legendary club on Hollywood’s Sunset Strip on August 19, 2008. The Troubadour is one of the most venerated venues in the history of music, serving as the host of countless milestones and unforgettable performances since 1957. The tremendous band boasts a lineup that includes grizzled performers from Beck, Jellyfish, Jane’s Addiction, Murphy’s Law, D Generation and Danzig. Glen was also flanked by four of his children on stage. Campbell adds some song variety with some inclusions by Lou Reed, Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Paul Westerberg, and Green Day. It is a wonderful night of music. The band is tight, Glen’s voice is strong, and his picking is as clean as ever. The intimate confines of The Troubadour proved the perfect stage this night. Perhaps the only thing more majestic than the magical setting was the vintage brilliance of Glen Campbell.
A staple of any Glen Campbell show was always his warm interaction with the audience. He appreciated the crowd and the crowd appreciated him right back. Not only because of his immense musical aptitude, but because the guy was so immensely likeable. As Alice Cooper put it, “He had the charisma that you just can’t buy”. Both the appreciation and charisma are hard to miss during this performance. The 14-song set list from Live From The Troubadour consists of a refreshing mix of Campbell classics and interesting covers.
“Angel Dream” (Petty)
Glen’s decision to cover Tom Petty made a lot of sense. Both artists exist in the musical space that is generally familiar yet particularly unique. “Angel Dream” was written by Petty and originally appeared on the soundtrack for the 1996 film “She’s the One”. Glen’s version is a bit higher tempo and provides a rollicking delivery that is more fun than Petty’s poignant original.
“By The Time I Get To Phoenix”
The song penned by Campbell friend Jimmy Webb was Glen’s coming out party. Appearing on the 1967 album of the same name, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” peaked at #2 on the U.S. Country charts and made Glen a genuine solo star. Still, he takes on his old standard with passion while adding a blistering guitar solo . The heartfelt performance on this album is everything and more that fans have come to expect over the previous 41 years.
The 1969 hit features some of Glen’s best known guitar work and he certainly delivers here. “He was one of the premier guitar players in both rock and country,” Alice Cooper stated. “A lot of people don’t know this, but the respect he had in the rock ‘n’ roll world. People like Eddie Van Halen one time said, ‘Can you get me a guitar lesson with Glen?’ That’s the kind of guitar player he was. He was considered one of the five best guitar players out there.”
“Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” (Green Day)
The platinum selling single from Green Day has become a pop culture staple since its release in 1997. The band adds a mix of country twang and slick fret work to an inspired version that appears in the middle of the set. It is a song that is perfectly suited for Glen as his words resonate with a more genuine understanding. It is a riveting rendition and for what it’s worth, it was worth all the while.
The 1975 monster hit topped both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Country Singles charts. This song is a concert staple for a reason. “Rhinestone Cowboy” is Glen’s signature tune, but it is also great to sing along to. After this outstanding performance, it is certain Glen received cards and letters from people he didn’t even know.