Glen Campbell – Rhinestone Cowboy

I remember this song all over the place when I was 8 years old. Probably one of the first songs I remember blanketing radio and TV at the same time. Glen Campbell sang this song written by  Larry Weiss and it was playing on top 40 radio and country alike. It peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, #1 in the US Billboard Hot Country Singles, #1 in Canada and #4 in the UK.

As big as the song was…I never hear it much now.

From Songfacts

For Campbell, this was a very important song, and one he would call “maybe the best song I’ve ever sung.” It came at a time when his career had gone flat: His popular TV show had been canceled, acting gigs dried up, and he hadn’t had a hit since 1971. The story of the faded star who perseveres in the song held a lot of meaning for Campbell.
This sold over 4 million units and hit #1 on the Hot 100, Country, and Adult Contemporary charts in the summer of 1975, becoming the first song since “Big Bad John” by Jimmy Dean to reach the apex of all three charts. “Rhinestone Cowboy” gained three Grammy nominations and was the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year for 1976. In 1977, the song earned Weiss the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International’s Songwriter of the Year award.

“Rhinestone Cowboy”

I’ve been walkin’ these streets so long
Singin’ the same old song
I know every crack in these dirty sidewalks of Broadway
Where hustle’s the name of the game
And nice guys get washed away like the snow and the rain
There’s been a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on meLike a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know
And offers comin’ over the phone

Well, I really don’t mind the rain
And a smile can hide all the pain
But you’re down when you’re ridin’ the train
That’s takin’ the long way
And I dream of the things I’ll do
With a subway token and a dollar tucked inside my shoe
There’ll be a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Rhinestone cowboy
Gettin’ cards and letters from people I don’t even know
And offers comin’ over the phone

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Gettin’ cards and letters from people I don’t even know….

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Glen Campbell – Rhinestone Cowboy”

  1. I am a Glen Campbell fan- especially love his covers of Jimmy Webb’s brilliant- Galveston, By The Time I Get To Phoenix and one of my favorite songs ever- Wichita Lineman. Rhinestone Cowboy became his signature song. Another artist who had a late career revival.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I’ve always liked him. As a guitar player he was one of the best. I faintly remember his TV show. I do remember this song was everywhere.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think like Buck and Roy- the tv show kind of hurt his reputation- made some people think he was some kind of a doofus- also that very rocky relationship with Tanya Tucker was tabloid headlines for a while… kind of make people forget that he was a great musician- singer.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree about the TV show… anyone who was southern they would play off of…
        I had forgotten about him and Tanya Tucker. That was rocky…


  2. Love the song, remember he had a TV show but don’t recall ever seeing it. I might have though, but would have been quite young. And like hanspostcard says, his Jimmy Webb covers were fantastic

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Campbell and Tucker were both on heavy drugs. it was a terrible combination. Campbell was part of the wrecking crew in LA and played on a bunch of other artist hit songs. Campbell also replaced Brian Wilson temporarily when the Beach Boys toured in 1964. Dennis Browns version of Wichita Lineman is really good it’s more raw not over produced.

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    1. I would hear stories of their relationship at my guitar tech’s business before he passed away. Those older session musicians that would come in would have some tales about all the country artists.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. oddly, Michaael Stipe of REM is a big fan of both Campbell and Webb and REM did good covers of both “Galveston” and “wichita Lineman”… the “Galveston” one is difficult to find though, not sure they ever released it in full length (seem to recall a snippet of it on an early VHS of their videos cut with interviews etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw this on your list of songs and had to read it. We saw Glen Campbell on his “Goodbye Tour” when the Alzheimer’s was getting bad. He forgot the lyrics many times but his band (his kids were part of that) kept him focused. When he sang “Galveston” he completely forgot the lyrics and the whole audience started singing. He was so surprised that we all knew the song and it put a big grin on his face. Tears streamed down my face as the scene played out. He died just a couple of years later. I still get chills thinking about it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That had to be so touching. My mom had Alzheimer’s or dementia at an early age so I can relate. That was so wonderful that his fans supported him like that.
      He was one of the great guitarists. Thanks for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He was one of the best guitarists ever! At the concert, we just chipped in…the whole crowd…the theatre was sold out!
        My mom had dementia, died in 2014 from a massive stroke and my dad had alzheimer’s. My dad went from normal in September of 2014 to an infant by July 2015. It was fast. All the steps of age reversal during those 9 months. They died within 3 days of each other 1 year apart. They were divorced for 40 years, but I don’t think my dad took her death too well. Hoping for a cure some day! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m so sorry about your parents.

        My mom started to forget things at 48. One Thanksgiving she forgot how to make dressing…something she did for years. She slowly went downhill through the paranoia stage etc. She passed at 64 in 2006. Doctors said it was because of mini strokes that went undetected.
        I so hope there is a cure one day. Her body worked fine but she wasn’t there anymore. It’s a terrible disease… to see someone lose who they were.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I’m sorry for your loss as well. My mom was 67. She was a smoker & had been since she was 16. She was diabetic and just did what she wanted even though it was bad for her. Paranoia never made it with her but it sure did with my dad.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I loved this comeback for one of my heroes. The first album i ever asked for was a Glen Campbell LP and i loved him right to the end. His 2008 comeback album was as good as anything he did and better than most bar the Webb classics. Modern songs sung in Classic Campbell style. When he released Ghost In The Canvas i was driving my car when it came on the radio and had to pull over to listen and weep. Mum has had Alzheimers for atound 20 years and now cant do or say anything, glen has been diagnosed, toured (even afflicted he was amazing on the guitar) recorded songs about living with it – especially the heartbreaking I’m Not Gonna Miss You – and passed away all while mum slowly deteriorated. Ive been caring for her for many years now, helped by dad keeping an eye on her until he died suddenly 2 months ago, so my life revolves around Alzheimers pretty much as she cant be left alone. Its s disease of many stages, but mum still loves sci fi, pop music, and the great grandkids coming round and shes remained loving bar the odd strop and needing lots of hugs.

    So Glen has meant as much to me over the last decade as he did from 69 to 77.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My mom had Alzheimer’s for years also. It’s a heart breaker…It’s the worse because physically she was fine and it was so frustrating. I remember the stages of paranoia, anger, frustration, and then she couldn’t talk anymore…just mumbled. On her deathbed she actually said the first words she had spoken in 4 years…”I see the light”…I was shocked…so my heart goes out to you and your family. My dad passed away 6 months before her but not of that.

      Glen functioned better than most through it. I found this not long ago.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So sorry your mum and family had such a tough time. It is a heartbreaker and its incredibly sad and frustrating for the sufferer. Thanks for the Alice clip hes a genuine person, always liked him. Even if i had to walk out of his concert when he turned the dial up to 11 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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