An introduction into Campbell’s early recordings
This record was a find from a charity shop in Low Fell a month ago. There were numerous Glen Campbell albums on the rack, most of them numbered – this one is No. 6, which leads me to believe that they were all from the same box-set. They were probably released some time in the seventies.
Back cover liners:
Although “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” confirmed Glen Campbell’s standing as an artist of national importance, it was John Hartford’s “Gentle On My Mind” which provided the real turning point in his career.
It was recorded – and became a best-seller in 1967, seven years after Glen had first sought his fortunes in Hollywood.
Six years earlier “Turn Around, Look At Me”, recorded for the minor ‘Crest’ label, had brought him a seven-year recording contract with Capitol Records, and soon after his initial release, “Too Late To Worry – Too Blue To Cry”, made its mark in the charts. However, although his vocal ability was impressive, it was still his virtuoso plectrum guitar work that was in greatest demand.
His role as ‘named’ recording artist continued but didn’t quite match his initial success for several years. It was a case of finding the right material – and that was still to come. In the meantime – while filling in with local bands including the Beach Boys – his career as a session musician blossomed.
Working in the studios, as a backup musician to some of the world’s great stars, inevitably paid dividends. He was there behind such entertainers as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and the Mamas and the Papas . . . earning upwards of £30,000 annually.
The routine was hectic. One year he worked 586 recording sessions, sometimes doing as many as three or four sessions a day, each lasting around three hours.
Then in 1967, came “Gentle On My Mind”. Glen recalls:
I found that song one day just listening to my radio, driving up Laurel Canyon in Hollywood. Somebody had made a record of it just with a rhythm track and verse. That’s all, and I thought it would be a great song, putting some strings in and filling it out.
It was supposed to be part of an album that I had hoped to make but they released it as a single. That was the big turning point for me.”Glen Campbell
It was around this time that Glen Campbell first became known to British audiences; hitherto he was known only to a few ardent country fans. In fact it is often said in U.S. publications that Britain discovered him before his fellow countrymen!
It was at a Las Vegas nightclub that Jeffrey S. Kruger, managing director of Britain’s Ember Records, first spotted Glen and realised that he possessed all the ingredients of a budding superstar. An agreement was reached with Capitol for Ember to release his material on this side of the Atlantic and – within a few weeks of the signing “Gentle On My Mind” broke into the American charts.
The remainder of the story is well-known; success quickly followed success until in February 1968 the music industry honoured its ‘overnight’ discovery. The Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences bestowed four Grammies on Glen Campbell – two each for his outstanding work on “Gentle On My Mind” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”.
A week later he received three more awards from the Academy of Country and Western Music for “Gentle On My Mind”. On that occasion he was awarded Best Single, Best Album, and Top Male Vocalist. Later that year he received the ultimate accolade when Nashville’s Country Music Association voted him Entertainer of The Year.
In the summer of 1968 Glen was chosen as the seasonal replacement for the Smothers Brothers’ television show, a debut that led his own network series. Then came the important movie contract with Paramount Pictures that led to his starring roles in “True Grit” and “Norwood”.
And, of course, there were public appearances galore, beckoning him from the glamour of Las Vegas’ nightclub strip to sell-out crowds at New York’s Carnegie Hall and enthusiastic welcomes all over the world.
Most important, though, success brought many more hits, all of which you can enjoy in this collection.
The songs on this album:-
More about love with John Hartford‘s “Gentle On My Mind” taking pride of place as the song that launched Glen on his phenomenal rise to stardom. Also included is a latter-day recording of “Turn Around, Look At Me” – the number that brought Glen a Capitol Records contract – and several of his personal favourites, all given his own impeccably stylish approach.
Bob Lind‘s “Elusive Butterfly”, Donovan‘s “Catch The Wind”, Roy Orbison‘s “Crying” and the Italian “You’re My World”, also a hit for Cilla Black in 1964, are all on this album.
charity shop purchase @ £2