Hours after Glen Campbell’s passing, John Mayer kicked off a headlining show in Nashville, Campbell’s home base during the final years of his career. There, in front of an audience still mourning the loss of its hometown hero, he performed an acoustic version of “Gentle on my Mind.”
Campbell recorded “Gentle on My Mind” in 1967, teaming up with a handful of his Wrecking Crew colleagues – including Leon Russell, another sideman who, like Campbell, would go on to find greater success as a solo artist – along the way. Written by John Hartford, the song became one of Campbell’s biggest hits, mixing his smooth, conversational croon with the guitar chops that had helped launch his musical career several years earlier.
Those two ingredients make it a natural fit for Mayer, too, who began his impromptu cover at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena with a disclaimer – “Whether I play it right or wrong,” he told the audience, “I’d rather have played it” – and finished it confidently. A tribute to one of the most influential soft-singing guitarslingers who came before him, Mayer’s “Gentle on My Mind” was everything its title promises, as easygoing and memorable as the man who popularized it.
Watch below: Glen Campbell’s 20 essential songs, from “Rhinestone Cowboy” to his cover of Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These.”