51 Years Ago: Glen Campbell Earns a No. 1 Hit With ‘Galveston’
Fifty-one years ago today, on April 19, 1969, Glen Campbell rode to the top of the charts with his song "Galveston." The tune was the title track of Campbell's 13th studio album.
"Galveston" was written by Jimmy Webb and released in the middle of the Vietnam War. The song includes lines such as, "Galveston, oh, Galveston / I am so afraid of dying / Before I dry the tears she's crying / Before I watch your sea birds flying in the sun / At Galveston, at Galveston," leading many listeners to consider it an anti-war song.
"Glen was very, very good at commercializing my songs," Webb tells SongFacts.com. "He could come up with great intros and great solos, great breaks, and he wrote perfect strings, because he wrote very little. It was a minimalist approach, and it just left Glen out there with the song and the guitar. I tended to write a little bit more as an arranger, and probably too much. So I could have done better to have stayed out of Glen's way, I think."
"Galveston" is included on several of Campbell's compilation albums, including Glen Campbell's Twenty Golden Greats in 1976, the Classics Collection in 1990, All the Best in 2003 and 2009's Greatest Hits. David Nail recorded the song for his 2014 album I'm a Fire, singing it as a duet with Lee Ann Womack. And Campbell himself also did a new version of the song on his 2013 album See You There.
“[Campbell] being a huge hero of mine, it was very important for me to show that I had such a fondness for him,” Nail tells Taste of Country. “I made a little elementary school note, ‘check yes or no,’ and just listened to the songs and held it up to my producer Frank Liddell, knowing full well that he would most likely pick "Galveston."”
This story was originally written by Gayle Thompson, and revised by Annie Zaleski.
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