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Boomer Lovesongs: Wichita Lineman, “I know I need a small vacation…”



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  • Kevin in PA May 14, 2021, 10:10 AM

    I never was much of a Glen Campbell fan. He was just a bit too pristine….what can I say?
    I was a Dead-head.
    On a side note, it was my understanding that many of Campbell’s hits were actually written by the late John Hartford.

  • jwm May 14, 2021, 10:55 AM

    Oh, holy cow.
    On my sixteenth birthday I came home from the beach high on LSD. My mom gave me the Glen Campbell album with this song. I was uh less than stoked, but I had to pretend…
    I like John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” much better than Campbell’s cover. Even so, it’s one of my all-time favorite songs.


  • Kevin in PA May 14, 2021, 11:22 AM

    Tripping to Glen Campbell?
    I think it would require years of therapy for me to recover from such an experience.

  • PA Cat May 14, 2021, 11:32 AM

    Another bit of Boomer nostalgia, from the same Glen Campbell concert as the first version of “Wichita Lineman”: this one is from every 1950s kid’s favorite cowboy show:

    Yes, I know the old joke definition of an intellectual as someone who can listen to Rossini’s “William Tell Overture” without thinking of the Lone Ranger– but in any case, Campbell’s ability to play a very rapid instrumental piece while holding the guitar over his head toward the end is impressive.

  • gwbnyc May 14, 2021, 11:44 AM

    we’d run a drunk version of this caroming off highway guardrails about the singer being a defensive tackle for Witchta State with no hope thereby of a Heisman.

  • Skorpion May 14, 2021, 12:22 PM

    @PA Cat: Me, I associate the William Tell Overture with Spike Jones’ insane rendition of it. To this day, I can’t hear a horse race announcer without that number going through my head. “Aaaand BEETLEBAAAAAUM!”
    As for “Wichita Lineman”? Right up there with Otis Redding’s “(Sittin’ On) The Dock of the Bay” as one of those PERFECT songs of which NOBODY should attempt a new version.

  • ghostsniper May 14, 2021, 12:43 PM

    I seem to remember a variety TV show in the late 60’s early 70’s with Campbell on it and that Hartford dood was on there regularly, dueting with him on banjos and guitars. I got the distinct impression that Hartford was the silent brains behind the brawn as it were.

    What’s Hartford been up to lately you asked?
    Well for the past 10 or more years he has been coming over here close to my place each summer and tearing it up. Bluegrass style.


    That’s about a mile and a half northeast of here and I can sit on the front porch and hear them wailing clear as a bell. Never been there in person.

  • ghostsniper May 14, 2021, 12:53 PM

    Oh, and Kevin, there’s something there for you too!

    If you don’t stop by the compound afterward you’ll hurt my feelings. lol

  • steph May 14, 2021, 1:08 PM

    ghost wrote: What’s Hartford been up to lately you asked?
    Well for the past 10 or more years he has been coming over here close to my place each summer and tearing it up.

    John Hartford has been dead for 20 years.

  • El Polacko May 14, 2021, 2:25 PM

    Poor Glen. One of the most fantastically talented guitar pickers and singers who ever lived slowly disappeared in an Alzheimers haze.
    Couldn’t read music but played on too many hits to count as a member of LA’s studio ace “Wrecking Crew”.
    One of his best friends was Alice Cooper.
    Here’s Alice on his buddy Glen:

  • Calispelitarian May 14, 2021, 3:00 PM

    Jimmy Webb wrote many great songs for others, but he specialized on his favorite singer and entertainer, Glen Campbell. They had a very productive relationship. Campbell was not to everybody’s taste, but he was an extraordinarily accomplished guitarist, part of the Wrecking Crew, and at his best he could be a fabulous singer. He certainly had the respect of some great artists, despite his excesses and antics and some of the offputting aspects of his TV show and persona.

  • Kevin in PA May 14, 2021, 3:12 PM

    Appreciate you thinking about me, Ghost, but I don’t do the concert scene anymore….not because of covid fears, but the outright infringement upon basic liberty, like what is now the latest incarnation of what was once the Grateful Dead, now called Dead and Company is a sham.
    Jerry was the driving force behind that band and I still miss the fat man. In any case, to attend one of these way over priced music festivals requires that you are actually signing off on search of your car, cooler, tent and bags at any time, and drugs are strictly forbidden, as is alcohol often times….but they will sell you a draft beer for $7 and the latest announcement I heard was this Summer tour vaccines will be required for entry.
    Bunch of sell out *ssholes. Bob Weir’s net worth is somewhere around $30 and he has to continue to tour with such stupid restrictions is just a real turn off for me.

    And Dude, I’m trying to think of who you might be thinking of, but Hartford has been dead about 20 years. Cancer.

  • ghostsniper May 14, 2021, 5:26 PM

    You and steph are both right.
    It’s a “tribute” to him, just like Garcia I guess.
    As I said, I’ve never been there.
    You’re right about the concert scene too.
    Last one we went to was in 2008 (RUSH) and it was an unbearable experience.
    It cost over $200 and took 3 hours to get there and we were so far from the stage as to be in the next county, and stood in line for more than an hour to go through the body searches etc. Never again. I remember going to name brand concerts in the 70’s for $6. Being around a whole buncha people now a days would give me the willies.

  • Casey Klahn May 14, 2021, 6:40 PM

    GC was enormously talented. He deserves his place in pop history and in music history. His last movie, where his family toured him around while he was almost incoherent, is nevertheless very touching.

  • TrangBang68 May 14, 2021, 7:17 PM

    That song is still on my mental jukebox from War Zone C in 1968-69. That line, “If it rains that stretch up north will never stand the strain.”. you talking about the Oriental River, brother or an afternoon stroll in the Ho Bo Woods? Another song that played a lot on Armed Forces Radio was “Those Were the Days ” by Mary Hopkin…365 and a wakeup, body bags , claymores and eagle flights…

  • Rob De Witt May 14, 2021, 7:20 PM

    I liked Garcia as much as anybody, but Glen Campbell was in a class of one. Here’s why….


    Plus being a first-call LA studio player throughout the ’60s rock explosion. Much of what you may admire on Beach Boys records was him, along with Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night and dozens of others.

  • Daniel K Day May 14, 2021, 9:37 PM

    Ghost, the variety show with Glen Campbell and sometimes John Hartford was the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

  • Mike Anderson May 14, 2021, 11:57 PM

    Back in the day I recall driving 100+ miles to see Sergio Mendes and Brazil `66* in concert. Opening act was some no-name country/folk singer, Glen Campbell. *Gottdamm, I’m getting old.

  • JoeDaddy May 15, 2021, 2:41 AM

    Thanks Calispelitarian for saving me some time. Campbell was a fabulous performer and guitarist. Listen to his LAST LP ‘Adios’ as he was fading into Alzheimer’s. Brilliantly co-produced by Billy Corgan.(Smashing Pumpkins) Jimmy Webb wrote most of Glen’s string of hits. Webb did a tribute tour to Glen a few years back. Super. He also did a stint with the Beach Boys via his Wrecking Crew contribution to their hits. His TV show introduced a lot of new musical talent that was booming at the time. He was special. If I could sing a lick, I would want his voice…and his guitar talent.

  • Snakepit Kansas May 15, 2021, 5:40 AM

    As for defensive lineman for Wichita State….heheh, WSU has not had a football team in more than three decades, but you already knew that. I have a 12 year bachelor degree from WSU. They have outstanding engineering and business schools.

  • Random Coolzip May 15, 2021, 8:54 PM

    Kevin – Should be called “Whipping A Dead Horse”