Throwback Thursday: Glen Campbell Plays 'Gentle on My Mind'


Be it that the soothing, rhapsodical and nostalgic "Southern Nights" with its "Have you ever noticed southern skies?/Its precious beauty lies just beyond the eye/It goes running through your soul/Like the stories told of old/Old man/He and his dog that walked the old land/Ev'ry flower touched his cold hand/As he slowly walked by/Weeping willows/Would cry for joy...". So I got that, at least.

Glen Travis Campbell was born on April 22, 1936 in a small town in the southern state of Arkansas, the seventh of 12 children of a struggling sharecropper. The seventh son of 12 children, he however demonstrated his musical talents early in his youth where he started the guitar with expertise. Campbell left home at the age of 14, performing on radio and television in Albuquerque, New Mexico, before landing in Los Angeles in 1960.

Beginning his solo career in 1961, his first few years also saw him enjoy only moderate success at best.

There he performed as a session musician with Phil Spector's legendary backing band known as The Wrecking Crew helping to produce what was called the Wall of Sound.

Keith showed off a very different side of his musicality than his own rough-and-tumble party hits and patriotic anthems usually demonstrate, delivering a strong-but-gentle vocal performance as his band emulated Campbell's original horn-and-strings-driven arrangement almost note for note, with his lead guitarist turning in a ideal rendition of Campbell's famous guitar solo.

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He appeared in the classic 1969 Western True Grit, playing the role of La Boeuf, a Texas Ranger who partners with John Wayne's Rooster Cogburn in search of a killer.

Toby's touching rendition of the hit was accompanied by a big screen photo montage highlighting Campbell's career.

Even as the country genre slipped in a niche in a changed world.

Keith extemporized a bit at the end of the song, singing, "And the Wichita lineman is still on the line / And he's still doing fine", adding in spoken word, "Now Glen Campbell will rest in peace".