I lack formal training in music other than a disastrous attempt to learn the clarinet in school. Or should I say, I was very successful at not learning the clarinet. Most of my music education came from having older siblings introducing me to music that would have been foreign to most of my friends. My brother and sister-in-law even took me to Woodstock (OK, not the festival – the movie at the drive-in theater). Woodstock was enriching even in the movie version. It combined great music with formal education (WHAT’S THAT SPELL!!!!!) Contains explicit language and a dose of patriotism by ending the show with the National Anthem. Alongside my training in Rock Music, our home had a steady diet of “variety shows” playing on TV (e.g. Dean Martin, Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk, etc.). Add to this the protest songs I learned at summer camp and music became one of the great joys and learning experiences of my life.
At one point, I started listening to Glen Campbell. For a short time, he was one of my favorites. I know that may not sound as cool as Woodstock, Country Joe and the Fish, and Jimi Hendrix, but I have fond memories of Campbell’s music. So, I was thinking the other day: I should listen to a couple of Glen Campbell’s songs again. Are they as good as I remember them? I listened, did a bit of research, and began to realize what an amazing guitar player Campbell was. As part of my brief exploration, I also came across an TV interview with Alice Cooper — yes that Alice Cooper – who actually does seem like “Mr. Nice Guy”. (TV station Fox 10 in Phoenix AZ — reported by Rolling Stone magazine).
Cooper said about Glen Campbell:
“He was one of the premier guitar players in rock and country. A lot of people don’t know the respect he had in the rock & roll world,” Cooper says. “Eddie Van Halen asked one time . . . ‘Could you get me a guitar lesson with Glen?’ Most rockers would go, ‘What?’ That’s the kind of guitar player he was. He was considered one of the five best guitar players out there.” (Rolling Stone)
Click here to watch a short live performance of Glen Campbell and his amazing guitar work. I encourage you to notice three things:
- Who’s listening and watching.
- Their reaction.
- Glen Campbell’s guitar solo.
I never progressed beyond the clarinet disaster in gaining any musical talent. As an adult, I was even corrected for my clapping in church (I was off-beat or something like that). Fortunately, a kind musician friend reassured me that it was only because I was on “Island Time” that I seemed off-beat. It’s comforting to know that it was the other 300 people who were out of sync and I was a misunderstood artist.
Listening to Glen Campbell this week was another reminder how much music has enriched my life and that music has always been Gentle on My Mind.