Glen Campbell is a Grammy Award-winning and twice Golden Globe-nominated American country pop singer and actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a television variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.
In 1968 Campbell was an in-demand session guitarist who played on hit recordings by artists such as Elvis Presley, the Monkees, the Mamas And The Papas, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, Jan And Dean, the Righteous Brothers and the Beach Boys.
Campbell played the solo on a six-string electric bass. Producer Al De Lory did the string arrangement to mimic the sound of Morse code.
Glen Campbell once said, "['Wichita Lineman' is] not strictly a country song, although a lot of people think of it as such. But its chord progression is different . . . It's certainly not a country progression."
In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time ranked "Wichita Lineman" at #192.
Chart position: #3 (US), #1 (US Country), #1 (US Easy Listening), #7 (UK).
Written by: Jimmy Webb (born August 15, 1946 in Elk City, Oklahoma). He also wrote such hits as "Up, Up and Away", "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Galveston" and "MacArthur Park". He is the only artist to have ever received Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration.
"Wichita Lineman" was a follow-up to Campbell's previous hit "By The Time I Get To Phoenix". It took approximately two hours to write.
In a 2005 Times interview, Jimmy Webb said, "A song like 'Wichita Lineman' suggests the plains, the receding horizon, the loneliness of the lineman who's up this pole in the middle of nowhere. That's an actual image that I saw one day. I was driving along and saw this guy high up on a telegraph pole and I wondered to myself, '. . . I wonder who he's talking to and what he's talking about.' There's a kind of tenacity, a blue collar nobility to what he was doing . . . [Billy Joel] said what that song says is that inside any normal Joe you might see on the street there could be great thoughts and aspirations and just because a guy is working at some menial job it doesn't mean that inside of him there's not some great passion or great dream."
My two cents: One of the greatest songs ever written, performed, recorded, period. How can I describe it? You have to hear it for yourself to know why I feel this way. It's the entire package, the whole of the song, rather than any individual part.
Obviously, Glen's voice and his delivery of the story is great. He puts forth a lot of emotion and a genuine sense that he is the Wichita Lineman. The orchestration is pitch-perfect, the bass guitar solo, the lyrics, the...everything!
And to think that Glen Campbell has yet to be inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. On this song alone, he's a shoe in! What do you think? This inquiring mind wants to know...
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