Glen Campbell is on the soundtrack to our lives.
I associate songs like “Wichita Lineman” and “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” with listening to AM radio stations like WBZ and WHDH in my mom’s car, in the ’70s.
He made music for every mood and time in your life, and you can’t say that about many artists. At his singer/songwriter best, you could see his characters, feel their emotions. His voice sounded rich coming out of cheap speakers.
A few years ago, author Kent Hartman wrote a book called “The Wrecking Crew”, which is also a documentary now. The title refers to a kind of dream team of L.A. studio and session musicians who played on countless classic rock and pop albums, as well as added contemporary sound to artists like Frank Sinatra.
The secret of the “Crew”, of which Campbell was one of the most valuable and frequent players is this: many bands weren’t good enough musicians to record their music with the precision and craftsmanship a studio recording required. Some of them really couldn’t play at all.
Campbell and the other “crew” members took the place of the band’s actual members in uncredited sessions, and some of the most memorable pop music was made for all time. The “Crew” was the “band” you thought you were hearing.
It means Glen Campbell was an even bigger, more impactful star than we realized. It makes his loss all the greater.
As he sings of the girl in “By The Time I Get To Phoenix”:
She just didn’t know/ I would really go.