Thursday, 20 June 2013

annoying songs of my childhood: Rhinestone Cowboy

I will try to do a combo of my experience and the
creation of the song, as mentioned in the Guardian.

As I watched too much tv, as a kid, Glen Campbell
was all over the place. I guess I always had an early
warning system for schmaltzy music,
if not a nose for good music.
I truly believe that "bad" music fries your brain.
I thought it was one of the things that made parents
so weird, crazy and yet thoroughly boring. I was
saying, one day, I too will be fat, have bad taste
in clothes and music, and hang around with like-minded
It hasn't happen, yet, I'm here to report. got a spare
tire, but it's not shocking.

I knew when a song sucked, and that song tended
to annoy me. Seeing
Glen Campbell in a Sears dude suit and fedora
was more than enough to start my eyes rolling.

Sometimes words make me cringe more than the
Rhinestone Cowboy?
-a cowboy wearing fake gemstones
Very manly, no?

Star spangled rodeo?
-okay, the US banner tune, and 
rodeos are of national importance, no?

Some more ruminations before I reveal the text. The songwriter,
Larry Weiss said it's about pursuing the American Dream.
But why does it have to be in the image of a stupid dude cowboy?
Weiss called the singing cowboys "Rhinestone Cowboys". 
Well, that mystery is solved.

It's "like" a Rh.. Cowboy, but Glen had to saunter on stage
in full dude regalia, as if people wouldn't get the Am. dream concept,
so he had to do the clown act instead.
And, unless I'm mistaken, he left out the f%^%$^&ing rhinestones.
I guess he was worrying it would make him look like Liberace.
"like a rhinestone cowboy, and a candelabra on my steed"

checkit:  Guardian

How we made: Rhinestone Cowboy

Co-producer Dennis Lambert and songwriter Larry Weiss remember how, inspired by Hop-Along Cassidy, they created Glen Campbell's signature song

Interviews by Dave Simpson
Monday 13 May 2013 17.45 BST
In 1975, Brian Potter and I had produced hits for the Tavares, the Righteous Brothers and the Four Tops. Al Courey, who was then vice-president of Capitol Records, asked if we'd be interested in working with Glen Campbell. At that point, Glen's career was in a lull. He hadn't had a major hit since the late 60s, with songs like Wichita Lineman – but he was still a star, with a TV show. Most importantly, I had always adored him. I thought he was an incredible singer and musician.

I told Al that with Glen it was all about the songs. If we could bring something special to the table, he had the artistry and the name to make it really great. We had a terrific meeting of minds. Glen was a product of the LA recording system and understood what went into making hit records. We'd been talking about his feelings, writing and bringing him songs, when Larry Weiss came to play me some tracks from his recent album. One of them was Rhinestone Cowboy. I said, "Larry, this is amazing," and my mind was racing, because I was already thinking about Glen. Larry wasn't that excited to hear that we were going to be producing Glen, I think because he was more concerned about his own album, but he gave me permission to play him the song. At the same time, Al Courey had somehow got a copy. A whirlwind happened within the space of a few days.

Glen doesn't mince words. He either feels something and jumps right on it or he doesn't: he thought the song was great. We didn't copy Larry's version, but took the essence of it, which was right on the money. Why fix something that isn't broken? I've made over a hundred albums, but the two and a half I made with Glen were my absolute favourite times in the studio. His pitch is impeccable; he's got the soul of a true musician. He doesn't read music, but he is a virtuoso guitarist, and it transfers to his voice. In the studio, he didn't wear headsets: he liked a little speaker instead. When he started singing, he'd drown out the track, and that's how he was able to finesse his vocal. He'd give you one or two great takes, and you knew you had it. For Rhinestone, I made him play guitar because I knew the other musicians would be excited to be sitting there playing with Glen Campbell.

I did have doubts that a major star would connect with a song about a guy walking the streets on Broadway, but he understood it as a metaphor for anyone trying to make it. He'd expressed disappointment with the way life was unfolding for him. He was recently divorced, estranged from his family, drinking, and involved with drugs a little too much – and yet he was this beautiful soul who we got to know and really love. That song became his signature tune. When you can make that happen, it's very powerful.