Glen Campbell - lead vocals, guitars; Craig Fall - keyboards; Kim Deragin - bass; Steve Turner - drums; Background vocalists - unknown; The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra; Conductor - T.J. Kinster
Glen Campbell's is a classic American music success story. He has reinvented his celebrity persona at least three times - and has generated as much media attention for his bad behavior. His bouts with alcohol and a controversial romance with Tanya Tucker kept the scandal rags busy for years.
For this show, recorded for the Silver Eagle Cross Country Radio Concert Series, Campbell is in fine form, and obviously excited to be working with a full symphony orchestra. Campbell was the first country act to successfully cross over into a mainstream pop star status. Like many other contemporaries of his era, Campbell easily fits into the pops orchestra program that merges '60s and '70s music celebs with metropolitan symphony orchestras. Usually designed as fund raisers to allow orchestras to present their more serious classical musical programs, the pops series can often deliver some pleasant musical surprises, as it did with this show.
Campbell was one of America's top session musicians during the early '60s, playing on hits for everyone from Elvis Presley and Dean Martin to Bobby Darin and Rick Nelson. He switched from guitar to bass for 18 months between 1965 and 1966, when he came in as a last minute replacement for Beach Boy Brian Wilson after the latter had a nervous breakdown. His stint with The Beach Boys brought him to the attention of A&R execs from Capitol Records, who decided to outfit the handsome, Southern singer/guitarist with the songs of an up and coming songwriter named Jimmy Webb.
His first hit fused a bluegrass-flavored country song with a pure pop arrangement. Written by John Hartford, "Gentle On My Mind" topped the Country charts, won a Grammy and reached the Top 20 on the pop charts. By the end of 1967, Glen Campbell was one of the biggest music stars in the world. He would go on to have a string of #1 hits written by Webb, including "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "I Wanna Live," "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston." He had a successful TV variety show, and eventually made the transition into films, with a co-starring role alongside John Wayne in the Oscar-winning western True Grit.
After a dry spell in the early 1970s, Campbell surged back with two more massive hits, "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights," in 1975 and 1977, respectively. From the late 1980s through today, he has remained a popular country and pop act, and has since preformed a number of shows with a symphony orchestra.