Original post from Glen Campbell Forums on facebook by Dee September 22, 2017
Game, set, match! Forty-four years ago this week, Glen Campbell helped to “warm up the court” for the historic “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match with Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs held at the Houston Astrodome in Texas.
Hours prior to the big match, Glen swapped his guitar for a tennis racket to play in a pre-Battle of the Sexes tournament also held at the Dome with crooner Andy Williams, actors Robert Stack, Rod Steiger and Janet Leigh, and other tennis-loving Hollywood stars.
Glen is pictured here with world heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman before he (Foreman) presented the winner's trophy and a $100,000 check to the victorious Billie Jean King:
From an interview with indie rock singer-songwriter Damien Jurado...
Q: I understand Glen Campbell was a big part of you picking up a guitar. Why was he so inspirational?
Jurado: In the rock world, people go on and on about Jimmy Page or whoever it is being the greatest guitar player. All these years, I've thought, "Why are you not talking about Glen Campbell?" To me, he's the single best guitar player ever.
I've never heard another person play guitar like him in my life. When I got to see him play live, once in the mid-'90s and then on his second to last farewell show in Seattle. It was incredible. I'm not that much of a guitar head. ... He can play the most incredible guitar, and his voice is pristine. I've never heard that guy hit a wrong note. It's almost demonic. It's like, "Did you sell your soul to the devil because you're perfection."
Great video you found there Randy. Thanks for posting!
Concerning the posts made by Dee and Mike about Glen and politics. I did research this subject quite a bit for wikipedia. In fact, both of you are right. Glen's formal stance during his commercial heyday (1967-1977) was non-political. He did perform for politicians but he did so for both Democratic and Republican candidates. In many cases, Glen knew the politician personally. Also, on The Goodtime Hour, he didn't want to get into politics like The Smothers Brothers did. Of course, Glen's personal political affiliation was probably always conservative. The thing is: he kept his musical career and his political preference apart. However, this changed around 1980. He then famously performed the national hymn with Tanya Tucker for the Republican National Convention. He performed at the inauguration of Ronald Reagan, and at rallies for Reagan's re-election in 1984. He did the same for Bush sr. in 1988 and 1992. During the Clinton era he repeatedly made fun of president Bill Clinton in interviews, making clear his wasn't a supporter of the former Arkansas governor. I believe Glen also performed in support of Bob Dole in 1996 but after that I don't think he was part of campaign performances for George W. Bush in 2000.
Still, even in the years after 1980 he occasionally performed in support of Democratic candidates on the state level. Again, I think these were cases were he knew the politician personally or liked that particular politician for some reason.
In one later interview Glen said he was never a straight party man, meaning he wasn't in favour of the Republican candidate by default. It was always a question whether he liked the person or not.
So in conclusion, to equate Glen with a staunch Republican is not accurate in my view.
Two last notes: 1) before he became really famous he was also more outspoken sometimes. Early 1967 he said in an interview that he was against the Vietnam war. I also think Glen released Universal Soldier because 1) he thought it was a good song and a potential hit and b) he was in fact against the Vietnam war. However, when journalists confronted him with the pacifist message of the song, suggesting it pleaded for draft evasion, he famously replied that draftcard burners should be hung. An exaggeration no doubt, but one that made clear that even though Glen was anti-war, this could never be translated into anti-patriotism.
2) Glen's political preferences never stood in the way he treated people with opposing views. His friendships with people like Jimmy Webb, Willie Nelson and Tom Smothers underline that for Glen, the personal always was more important than the political.
Hi, Mike, You are right, of course, about "Galveston". I just never felt it was "sing along" type of song, perhaps more like a march as JW had described it. And even at that, it just feels more pop to me than a patriotic song conjuring up U.S. patriotism and the American troops. (Having said that, I have seen many appreciative posts on youtube by current or former members of our Armed Forces for the "Galveston" music videos. One person posted that he had played the song over and over when he was in Vietnam; it really helped him to manage all that he was going through as a soldier.) Some of us here felt the song was more of a love song, right? I do appreciate your perspective as always.
LOL...when I think of "sing along", I am picturing an early 1960's American television show "Sing Along with Mitch" starring chorus leader Mitch Miller (check out Dixie at around 6 minutes):
Back to politics. I don't believe I had ever read that Glen was a flat-out Republican. However, I haven't researched this topic as much as Cowpoke has done and perhaps he can provide more information on Glen's affiliations.
Mike, can you remember when and where Glen said he was a "staunch Republication"? Was this perhaps in an interview? or in print? I honestly have not come across this statement but, hey, I am on the other side of the pond from you and our respective press coverage may have reported this info differently.
Here's an interesting story. In late April 1972, the LA Times and a few other publications reported that Glen Campbell would be performing at a Democratic Party fundraising telethon sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Glen's media rep at the direction of Nick Sevano, Glen's manager at the time, addressed this news story in writing, pronto, with the chairman of the board at KFC. The rep explained that Glen had not even been asked to perform and he certainly had not agreed to perform at this event. No one had even contacted Glen or any of his associates to discuss the telethon. The chairman was requested to issue a press advisory statement (shown below) to correct this misinformation in the press.
The advisory statement is interesting because it clearly states Glen's political stance in 1972. However, can we take it at face value? Suppose Glen had somewhat aligned himself with the Republication party or directly supported the Republican party or even had some type of allegiance or understanding with then former Pres. Nixon and/or his administration to support his party (exclusively?) at fundraising or other events? (Nixon liked Glen, appearing to have hand picked him for public or publicized events as part of a very tactical plan to bring a younger, more vibrant element to his (un-hip) political party. I don't know if Glen was aware of Nixon's -- and his staff's -- (subversive?) intentions for him. If there was some type of affiliation, then a false story about Glen appearing at a Democratic party fundraising telethon would have put Glen in an awkward position with Pres. Nixon. Or maybe not. Perhaps the advisory accurately states Glen's political stance? We may never know. I am just asking questions.
Sorry about the watermark. G@@gle picks up images and photos for their image gallery. The yellow highlighting is mine.
Press Advisory_May 1 1972.jpg (113.47 KiB) Viewed 154 times
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Hi Dee, I just read the No Depression article. Yes you are right the author does make some assumptions here about Glen and some of the songs.Galveston is the obvious one. However as we have discussed previously, even Jimmy was not happy with Glen's treatment of the song and considered it to be a "Lets go kick some [...]" version of what he had intended. Jimmy has always commented negatively about Glen's uptempo version and then finishing with "But I'm not complaining because it went top ten" As regards to Glen's Republican image, I thought that was a commonly held view even in America. I.E the clean cut image etc. Glen himself has said he was a staunch Republican and a Ronald Reagan supporter when he was interviewed in the eighties etc, and has performed for all the Republican Presidents over the years. Glen even attended rallies in support of Reagan,so I don't think there is much room for movement there. I guess, also coming from a southern state would also tend to make people feel that is where his heart political heart is also. In Britain,Country music, especially in the seventies was performed by artists who were all considered to be of that political persuasion as apposed to the more hippie personas of the likes of James Taylor, Dylan, Donovan. Image is a big part of what people see as the core values of the artist in question. I think the author was a bit cynical in his item but did have respect for what Glen achieved musically. The other article I read by Daniel G. Moir was done with so much more affection.
For BobbieG and other fans of Bobbie Gentry, I am excited to post this wonderful article as well as the link to a new Bobbie Gentry website! (Kudos to the Bobbie Gentry Fans fb group for sharing this information.)
The Secret Life of Bobbie Gentry, Pioneering Artist Behind 'Ode to Billie Joe' How the singer-songwriter who knocked the Beatles out of the Number One spot 50 years ago quietly revolutionized country music RollingStone By Tara Murtha August 21, 2017
"Ode to Billie Joe," a spooky wisp of a song by an unknown artist named Bobbie Gentry. Industry wisdom said "Ode" was too dark, too long, too different to get played on the radio.
Listeners wanted to knew two things: What did the song's narrator and Billie Joe McAllister throw off the Tallahatchie Bridge? And secondly, who the [...] is Bobbie Gentry?
Tara has previously written the only bio about Bobbie Gentry and her infamous song: Bobbie Gentry's Ode to Billie Joe (33 1/3).
NEW! A Bobbie Gentry website created and managed by a fan in the U.K.: http://bobbiegentry.org.uk/ This site is still in the development stage, and the administrator is welcoming submissions of photos, articles, etc.
Look for photos of Glen Campbell with Bobbie Gentry.
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As a follow-up to my post below, New Depression's tribute article to Glen Campbell, written by a British writer, also makes pointed remarks about Glen's alleged political views:
(Glen Campbell) made incendiary statements condemning anti-war protesters and pacifists in general and was an all-round flat-out Republican. Yet you never seem to hear anyone who knew him say a word against him.
Campbell turned ("Galveston", the song) into an expression of complete patriotism, a sing-along number to remind America of the great and noble sacrifices made by its troops.
It is frustrating as a fan to read these unfounded assumptions, isn't it?
Furthermore, the writer obviously lacks understanding about the meaning of "Galveston". I have never heard it described as "a sing-along number". LOL Certainly, Jimmy Webb did not write this song as a reminder to Americans of "the great and noble sacrifices make by its troops". Actually, this statement sounds more like a put-down to Americans.
Perhaps Mike Joyce or other fans in Britain can help to explain why Glen was perceived as "an all-round flat-out Republican", a misconception that originally appeared in an online British newspaper article (of dubious nature) from years ago. In this newspaper article, the writer described Glen as a "staunch Republican" (without facts to backup this statement).