Kenny Rogers on Glen Campbell: ‘I Was Amazed at How Well He Sang’
Along with being a Grammy-winning singer, Glen Campbell was an exquisite guitarist, most famously playing with the L.A. session pros the Wrecking Crew. Among the songs he added his guitar flair to was “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In),” Kenny Rogers’ first Top 10 hit with the band the First Edition, in 1968. Rogers, a longtime friend of the “Rhinestone Cowboy,” discussed the magnitude of Campbell’s death today at 81 with Rolling Stone Country.
Glen was an exceptional guitar player and he became an exceptional singer. When he first started singing on albums, he didn’t think he should be doing it. Then when got his television show, the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, he learned to sing and he sang beautifully. He stumbled into singing.
He was a little slick in that he dressed great, and his songs were something other than traditional, but that’s where he felt most comfortable. I listened to some stuff he did the other night and I was amazed at how well he sang. All those songs that Jimmy Webb wrote for him, like “Wichita Lineman,” he really delivered them.
He also played guitar on “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In).” That’s him up front of it. He played on about eight or 10 First Edition songs. We were really good friends. I even photographed him for a couple of his album covers.
I remember watching I’ll Be Me and it just broke my heart to see him like that, because he was so vibrant when he was young. One of his last concerts was with me on the stage in Atlanta. He played great, sang great but he’d finish a song and didn’t know what to do or where to go. Thank goodness he had his family with him. They covered for him without making him look helpless.
I’ll remember him as a wonderful person for whom being a good person was more important than being a good singer. And that’s what everybody should remember. I hope country music can appreciate what he gave and how valuable the loss is.
We kind of lost touch with each other, when I moved to Atlanta and Glen lived in L.A., we but we never lost our friendship.
(As told to Joseph Hudak)