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Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

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Cowpoke
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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Cowpoke » Sat Jan 03, 2015 10:51 am

Dee,
thanks for sharing your thoughts! This discussion is really "Goin' Steady"! I think it is in one of the tv documentaries about Glen from the late 90s, early 00s, that Glen says that he never really planned this career the way it turned out. All he wanted to do is tour with a band and play and sing. Now I don't take Glen's word for granted on everything as you know, but in this case I think it's right.

Was Glen ambitious? Yes, very much so. But I think in his formative years, his ambition was mainly to become the best guitarist in the world, the most versatile too. Versatility really mattered to him. Learning his trade, as Randy called it. And then, be ready when someone asks you. In that Wink Martindale interview from 1977 which was posted earlier, Glen said that he always thought his playing was always better than his singing. Imagine that, one of the most talented singers ever to emerge in post-war American music! He also admitted that he thought that Albuquerque was as far as he was going to get (live performances, local radio and tv show). I think, as many talented artists, he was basically insecure about himself. In one interview I heard once, he even said he didn't even like his own singing voice!

When you look at some of the crucial points in his career (joining Uncle Dick Bills in Albuquerque, moving to Los Angeles, joining the Beach Boys, starring in his own tv show, starring in True Grit) I think it's interesting that in all cases, Glen was asked or stimulated by others to do it. His uncle Dick Bills called Glen asking him to join the Sandia Mountain Boys. Then Glen stayed there for six, seven years (quite a long time) before Jerry Fuller convinced him in 1960 he was wasting his time and he should move to Los Angeles. Mike Love called him to replace Brian Wilson on stage. Tommy Smothers asked him to star in a summer replacement show, John Wayne asked him to star in True Grit.

But as I said, he never said no. He was ready to do it, because... he had learned his trade.


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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Dee » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:22 pm

Found this great interview again on the web (Gary James' Interview With Glen Campbell at http://www.classicbands.com/GlenCampbellInterview.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) and read about Glen's vision for his career and life. It seems to be from around 1994, after the release of Glen's autobiography, Rhinestone Cowboy. Gary's questions and Glen's answers on this topic are posted below.

Q - "Noting but nothing was going to come between me and my ultimate goal, not even basic needs." (I think Gary is quoting Glen from his autobiography, Rhinestone Cowboy. --Dee) Would it be fair to say that your ultimate goal was to become a successful touring, recording artist?

A - Well, I don't really know. My ultimate goal is to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and see God. That's my ultimate goal.

Q - But, as a kid growing up, you wanted to become a recording artist?

A - Well, I wanted to become the best jazz guitarist in the world too. I don't think I really emphasized that in the book that much. I guess that was the ultimate goal yeah, to record and tour. I got to do that from almost every aspect. I toured with The Champs back in 1960, 1961. I was a Beach Boy in 1965. So I got to do that. (laughs) Boy, did God fulfill that beyond my wildest imagination.

Q - To get to that level you needed what, driving force, blind ambition?

A - I think I practiced my trade enough, which is singing and playing, being a musician and a singer, to have people recognize that and call me. You know, it's like if they call you to build a house and you don't know how to build a house, you're not going to get the job. I was ready when I was called to do something; I could do it musically. I didn't limit my talent by pursuing one particular kind of music. I didn't limit it by pursuing Jazz or pursuing Country or pursuing Pop. Music was my world before they started putting a label on it. If somebody heard music that was different from another section of the country, they'd label it. That Detroit Sound, you record it in L.A., it sounds the same way to me. So people label music. That came from working in my uncle's band in Albuquerque. We had a five day a week radio show, six, seven years. You use up a lot of material doing that. We did everything from Country to Pop, when Rock came along.

# # #

This interview certainly supports Randy's point (in the prior Video of the Week discussion -- "If You Go Away") about Glen practicing his trade, doesn't it? It also supports Cowpoke's explanations that Glen didn't want to "limit himself to one genre", that he credits his exposure to all kinds of music to his time with his Uncle Dick BIlls, and that he worked hard to be ready for opportunities that came his way.
Dee



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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Dee » Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:36 pm

Just catching up here, Cowpoke.
I am still hearing the "twang" ("country flavor") in "How Do I Tell My Heart Not To Break". :) But, I'll keep working on it. :)

Thank you for the info about the music that was played by the Sandia Mountain Boys when Glen was with that group. I had never known about their having a sax player at one point and playing such different types of music.

Good question about Glen and the possibility of a "master plan" for his career.

One thing I have noticed (and admired) about Glen's career is that he always seemed to know when it was time to move on; when it was time to reinvent himself, as he pursued his dream(s). Here are some examples of Glen's knowing what was right and what was wrong for his career:

One of our members, Phil Leslie, may know why Glen moved to and from Texas in the early fifties; what was Glen looking for, career-wise, at that time? I think he might have stayed with one of his brothers? Was Glen looking to connect with a band or a venue where he could perform?

After a short stay in Texas, Glen decided to move on from Texas to Albuquerque, New Mexico to join up with his Uncle Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys (as well as making appearances on Dick's television program for children). After being with this group for a while, Glen decided to leave it after being picked on by some of the band members. This would not have been an easy decision to make since the Sandia Mt. Boys was his first big gig.

Glen then formed the Glen Campbell and The Western Wranglers group. After receiving encouragement from Jerry Fuller to move to LA, Glen eventually disbanded the Wranglers and moved to LA.

In L.A., Glen found a job with a publishing company, American Music, and wrote and recorded demos. He left American Music.

Glen joined The Champs, the touring group. However, life on the road, traveling from town to town, wasn't what Glen wanted for his life and career. He moved on.

Glen found great success as a session guitar player. He could have continued on as a Wrecking Crew member, but he wanted to pursue a solo career as an artist. He gradually made that change.

He filled in for Brian Wilson, joining The Beach Boys in late December 1964. By March 1965, he knew that he wanted to move on, although there had been talk about his remaining with this group. I have read two different stories about why Glen left the Boys: he wanted to continue pursuing his solo career and also The Beach Boys had offered him less than 1/5 of the band's earnings to stay, which Glen refused. Glen moved on from this band (and also by April/May, as an opening act for the Boys) by the end of May 1965.

Glen Campbell and Al De Lory teamed up (I'd love to know how this collaboration came about), and Glen demonstrated a masterful ear for choosing hits songs when he recorded Burning Bridges and Gentle on My Mind, as well as Jimmy Webb’s By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, and other Webb songs. By the late sixties, Glen recognized a “Glen Campbell song” when he heard it.

Jump to the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. Glen impressed the brothers with his musical performances and personality; his name was mentioned as one of the possibilities as the host of the Smothers Brothers summer replacement show--this was well before Glen's appearance on the Joey Bishop show in June (I think) of 1968. When offered the television hosting role, Glen accepted. He recognized the power of television to reach a wide audience and later accepted the offer of host for his own television program, the Goodtime Hour, based on Glen Campbell’s own terms (wanting nothing to do with the subject of politics that figured so prominently and controversially on the brothers' comedy hour).

In 1975, he recorded and released the song, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, despite his then wife’s complaint about why he was releasing a “cowboy song”, foreseeing a failure. Of course, we all know how successful this song was and still is…it became one of Glen’s most successful selling songs and is one of his signature songs now.

Speed forward to the 1990s. Glen recognized an opportunity to have his own theater in Branson, Missouri, which was a booming theater town at that time. The Goodtime Theater was built and Glen performed there for a number of years, enjoying being off the road from touring and spending more time with his family. For a number of reasons, Glen later decided it was time to leave Branson and he moved on.

I skipped a lot of GC history and simplified the time line here. There are many other examples of Glen recognizing opportunities and, perhaps even more importantly, also recognizing when to leave an opportunity or gig behind and move on. So, it almost does seem like Glen had a master plan or vision for “Glen Campbell”. In fact, in a Crook and Chase interview, perhaps from the ‘90s, I remember that Glen talks about himself in the third person explaining his life philosophy and how he looked at “what was best for Glen Campbell”.

However, I understand what you are saying about people recognizing Glen's talent and offering him chances. None of the above would have happened if Glen hadn't been "out there" doing what he loved. Makes me wonder what opportunities Glen turned down!



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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Cowpoke » Tue Dec 30, 2014 2:11 am

Boy oh boy, Dee, you raise so many interesting issues, I don't know where to start. But yes, Dick Bills did all sorts of songs. From Bennie Goodman to the Sons of the Pioneers and everything in between. That is where Glen learned to play all sorts of music. The Sandia Mountain Boys had a saxophone player at one point. Not a typical country music instrument!

How Do I Tell My Heart Not To Break. Yes, the ending sounds very pop to me, in dramatic Roy Orbison fashion. And compare Glen's voice in Goin' Steady. Isn't that twang missing completely in How Do I Telll?

Unlike Jay, I don't think Glen's career moves were masterfully planned. He has often said that he planned none of it. I think he got so far because of his extreme talent. People recognized that and gave him chances. And Glen never said no, and they were never sorry they asked him! :)

PS: thanks sharing quotes from that 1972 interview. Very interesting!


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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Dee » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:17 pm

Cowpoke, in response to your comment about maybe Glen didn't want to limit himself to one genre, I thought I would share Glen's view on this matter taken from a cool interview I recently found from 1972 with Glen for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Glen says:
"I like all kinds of music, classical, and all. Segregation of music is as bad as segregation of people."

"People put labels on you. When I came to CBS, they said I was country and western, but I just consider myself a country boy who sings."

"I grew up on country music and that was my first love, but my second was jazz. As a kid I was a very frustrated jazz guitarist. Django Reinhardt was my biggest idol and still is."
GC also makes reference in this article to his first record being "pop". I assume he is referring to "Turn Around, Look at Me"?

Maybe it's difficult for us to define Glen's music because it can't be defined. You hear pop in the vid that I posted below; I hear country. There are different flavors in the same song, perhaps? I hear Glen's vocals as mostly country--until the end of the song, as well as the country-like backup singers, and the slow guitar strumming without the Al De Lory orchestration that came later.

Even Capitol Records in 1962, after Glen signed on with them, had difficult defining him, too, and didn't quite know how to pitch Glen.

It's interesting that Glen's Uncle liked all sorts of music, too. So, the Sandia Mountain Boys must not have been purely C&W. Or maybe they sang pop with a C&W flavor.

I've been thinking a lot about Randy's comment -- how geography might have influenced Glen's music. What if he had gone to Nashville instead of LA?

I've been thinking about Jay's info, too -- would Glen have been able to "break in" to Nashville in the sixties? Glen's career moves are "masterful" to look at now. From all that I have read, Glen had an amazing sense of self and where he wanted to go with his music. For every Jerry Fuller who came along and told Glen that he should move to LA, there were likely many others who were encouraging him to move to the country capital, Nashville.

Looking forward to reading the responses to the questions that Cowpoke asked below.

--Rambling Rose



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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Cowpoke » Sat Dec 27, 2014 3:02 pm

Thanks for your elaborate replies guys. I love it. And, never be afraid to ramble and go off topic. We need more rambling :) !

Dee, thanks for your video response. You know the funny thing is, to my ears, that is almost completely a pop record! But I find it very difficult to explain why. For one thing, Glen uses his "pop" voice, not his country voice. What do you guys think, is that song pop, country or both?

Randy, yes that is true. Even though Glen didn't do strict country songs, still those songs you mention had a huge appeal to country music fans and radio stations. The quality of the songs certainly had something to do with it. But there must be something more. By the Time I Get to Phoenix stylistically is not a country song, Johnny Rivers and Pat Boone, a rock and a pop singer recorded it before Glen and their versions were not drastically different than Glen's. Then Glen records it and boom, it hits number 2 on the country
charts! How did that happen?

Jay, that is also a very interesting perspective. Maybe Glen just didn't want to limit himself to one genre. In a 1977 interview he exactly says that he learned to appreciate all kinds of music while he was in his uncle Dick Bills' band. They played country, jazz standards, gospel, pop because "he [Dick Bills] liked all sorts of music too".

Would he have been accepted by country radio as a straight country artist? I think he would. They really embraced him when he released Gentle and Phoenix etc. Why wouldn't have embraced him if he had released just good pure country songs?


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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by jay » Wed Dec 24, 2014 3:36 pm

In keeping with Randy's veering off the subject (((hopefully the watchful eye of Dee will allow))) I'll just add C&W, in the mid 60's going to late 60's would have really put a damper on Glen's ability as a guitar player. It was well defined! Maybe he knew that in ALB. I have never seen a setlist of what he played in the bars, but it had to be twanger music...for that part of the country. So maybe he found out in ALB, C&W would cramp his abilities. Look at the hits for 65:
1
King of the Road song review
Roger Miller
Roger Miller
2
I've Got a Tiger by the Tail
Harlan Howard / Buck Owens
Buck Owens
3
I'll Keep Holding On (Just to Your Love)
Sonny James / Robert Tubert
Sonny James
4
Girl on the Billboard
Walter Haynes / Harry Mills
Del Reeves
5
Truck Drivin' Son-of-a-Gun
Dixie Deen / Ray King
Dave Dudley
6
Make the World Go Away
Hank Cochran
Eddy Arnold
7
Before You Go
Buck Owens / Don Rich
Buck Owens
8
Behind the Tear
Ned Miller / Sue Miller
Sonny James
9
This Is It
Cindy Walker
Jim Reeves
10
Buckaroo
Bob Morris
Buck Owens & His Buckaroos

GLen could sing all of those and play the guitar in his sleep...but also, how long would it have taken for the "establishment" of those guys to allow a guy with Glen's talents to come into the fold. Remember CW was well established in America. Every small town had a local AM station that played it in the south. Instead Glen approached it from the west coast and when he got his show, held out his hand to Nashville, cementing relationships on the CW and newly forming "outlaw" genre's. As with most career moves in Glen's life...in hindsight, they seem masterful.



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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Randy » Wed Dec 24, 2014 2:50 pm

Because of the course Glen took,, winding up in California, instead of Nashville, Tennessee probably had everything in the world to do with it. But in my opinion, Glen's appeal to country music fans may have been the most important. Those songs, Gentle, Witchita, Galveston, Rhinestone, Phoenix, etc were so good he was forever etched into the minds of those that never forget how good they were. I'm not sure anyone can even define to me "pop" music anymore. Nor do I care what it is ... Sadly "all music" has more to do with things other than talent but fortunately not all of it. Seems like I'm rambling and venting more than discussing the subject spot on but in my mind the songs I listed made Glen uneraseable from any country music fans mind.



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Re: Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Dee » Wed Dec 24, 2014 1:37 pm

.
GREAT question, Cowpoke!

Here's my answer for now....a video response to your video of the week! lol How can you not love this song written by Glen and Jerry Capehart?



I believe Glen would have been hugely successful in the country genre. He was already making headway with his early studio albums.

However, if Glen had continued down this country path, then there might not have been the tremendous, lasting collaborations of Jimmy Webb and Glen Campbell. There would have been no "Wichita Lineman".

Everything happens for a reason!

To be continued...could we talk more about Goin' Steady and Glen as a country artist next week?



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Video of the Week: Goin' Steady

Post by Cowpoke » Mon Dec 22, 2014 3:26 pm

Just a reminder: anyone can post a video of the week which we get to discuss for the whole week. Only rule is that you have to be the first one to do it, on a Monday.
This week I want to discuss this old video from the syndicated tv series Star Route, presented by Rod Cameron.



What if Glen had decided to only record pure country songs early on in his career? Maybe he would have been a star much sooner. Both "Kentucky Means Paradise" and "Burning Bridges" were hits, anyway. He is so at ease doing real country songs, like this video proves. Do you agree?


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