GLEN CAMPBELL – This loss was huge, very huge. The news came later yesterday that Campbell had passed after a prolonged fight against Alzheimer’s. I first got to hear Campbell’s music when I was young. Believe it or not, a close friend had worked for Campbell’s then-manager and the Smothers Brothers, whose show first introduced Campbell. I immediately fell in love with his music, guitar playing and his whole persona. He was the real deal. Face it, when Campbell sang a Jimmy Webb-song, no one did it better. Ironically, I had just finished Webb’s incredible biography, The Cake and the Rain, and one of the real take always from the book was the fact that the two didn’t meet until well after Campbell started enjoying success with his music. Johnny Rivers, of all people, had first done the recording of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix,” in 1965, before recommending it to Campbell. Glen, of course, had the massive hit with it in 1967 and his career was off.
Born April 22, 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, the singer released more than 70 albums, sold over 45 million records, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and won 10 Grammy Awards as well as 10 Academy of Country Music Awards.
Before hitting it big as a solo recording artist, Campbell was a studio musician in the early 60’s and played on recordings by Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Phil Spector. He even toured as a member of The Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson from late 1964 to March 1965.
My favorite tracks from Campbell were “Dreams Of the Everyday Housewife” and “Where’s The Playground Susie.” Sure, not his biggest hits, but listen to them today and every note, lyric and production just shine. As a performer, Campbell was just stunning in every way.
One of his last albums, Ghost On The Canvas (his 61st album) was as perfect an album as I’ve ever heard. Clearly, the singer’s focus had changed in his final years, but the songs on that album spoke as strong as anything he had ever performed before. He knew the end was near and that feeling ignited the album. Certainly one of the best albums … ever. Campbell, huge loss.
Tom Cuddy from WOR radio said: “Glen Campbell was the whole package: a terrific singer, a fabulous guitar player and had the good looks of a movie star. Plus, he had a golden ear. Even though he didn’t write his songs, he knew a hit when he heard it, which is how he discovered Jimmy Webb, who wrote the majority of his hits.”
Celebrity-biographer Mark Bego, who wrote the book Life With My Father/Burning Bridges, with Debby Campbell, said:
“For me, Glen Campbell’s music has been part of the soundtrack of my life. While Glen became a star via remarkable string of 1960’s hits like ‘Gentle on My Mind,’ ‘By the Time I Got to Phoenix,’ ‘Wichita Lineman,’ ‘The Dreams of An Everyday Housewife’ and ‘Galveston,’ most people don’t realize that they had already been listening to Glen’s stellar guitar playing for years. Campbell was part of the legendary studio musicians, The Wrecking Crew, and his legendary guitar playing was prominently heard on hits by Elvis Presley, The Monkees, Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Freddy Cannon, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, The Beach Boys, Bobbie Gentry, Anne Murray, Kenny Rogers, and Linda Ronstadt. With his movie star-like good looks, and his sincere and endearing persona, Glen was destined to become a multi-media star. He won 10 Grammys, hosted his own extremely popular television series, and thanks to the film ‘True Grit’—he became a bona fide matinee idol as well. We have all welcomed Glen into our homes for decades, on our televisions, on our stereos, and on the radio. Although news of his death is very sad and tragic, Glen will always live on in our memories, via his unforgettable catalog of music. He was the original ‘Rhinestone Cowboy,’ and his music will always keep his memory alive.”
DAVE BACK in 2018 — Two years after signing off CBS’ The Late Show, David Letterman is returning to the small screen. The longest-serving host in U.S. late-night TV history is set to topline a new talk show for Netflix. The untitled six-episode series will premiere in 2018.
Unlike The Late Show, each hour-long episode of the Netflix series will be prerecorded and feature Letterman conducting longform conversations with a singular guest as well as exploring topics on his own — outside of the studio. A guest list has not yet been revealed.
“I feel excited and lucky to be working on this project for Netflix. Here’s what I have learned, if you retire to spend more time with your family, check with your family first. Thanks for watching, drive safely,” Letterman said Tuesday in a statement.
The series is being produced by RadicalMedia (What Happened, Miss Simone? and Oh Hello on Broadway and Abstract: The Art of Design) as well as Letterman’s Worldwide Pants banner.
“Just meeting David Letterman was a thrill; imagine how exciting it is for me to announce that we will be working together,” said Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos. “David Letterman is a true television icon, and I can’t wait to see him out in the wild, out from behind the desk and interviewing the people he finds most interesting. We’ll have to see if he keeps the beard.”
Letterman hosted more than 6,000 episodes of late-night talk shows during his time on NBC’s Late Night as well as CBS’ The Late Show over 33 years. As a writer, producer and performer, he collected 52 Emmy nominations and 10 wins. He’s also a two-time Peabody Award winner who will be honored with the Mark Twain Prize in October. Letterman has interviewed virtually every presidential candidate as well as cabinet officials while also shedding light on topics including world hunger and climate change. (During his career, he has interviewed Donald Trump multiple times.)
Letterman announced plans to step down from The Late Show in 2014 and signed off in 2015, with nearly 14 million viewers tuning in to see his farewell.
“I’m feeling anxious. I find, since I don’t have a show anymore, I can’t stop talking,” Letterman said in a December story in which he interviewed Tina Fey for The Hollywood Reporter.
The new series expands Netflix’s talk show footprint beyond Chelsea Handler’s weekly talk show, which changed its format in its sophomore season to expand to an hour with more in-depth interviews, bigger field pieces and trips to India, Europe and more.
If you didn’t have Netflix before, now’s the time to get it! Welcome back Dave … believe me, TV needs you now more than ever!
SHORT TAKES — David Crosby will hit the road this fall on a tour in support of the CSN singer’s upcoming LP, Sky Trails. The trek, which focuses on the eastern half of the United States, kicks off October 30th in Chicago and slowly makes its way south before concluding December 9th in Clearwater, Florida. Crosby has recently unveiled a pair of tracks off Sky Trails, due out September 29th: “Sell Me a Diamond” and “She’s Got to Be Somewhere.” After releasing only three solo LP’s over the first 40 years of his career, Sky Trails marks the suddenly prolific Crosby’s third solo album in the past four years, following 2014’s Croz and 2016’s Lighthouse … David Edelstein of New York Magazine has revealed the best movies of 2017 so far (his list, not mine) – they include: Baby Driver; The Beguiled (Sofia Coppola); The Big Sick; Dunkirk; Get Out; A Ghost Story; John Wick 2; Personal Shopper; Wind River and Your Name … Is Ray Romano getting just a bit over exposed? I did enjoy Everyone Loves Raymond. But after that series, Romano has embarked on a serious-acting stint, with roles in Men Of A Certain Age (TV); Vinyl; The Big Sick (movie) and now Get Shorty, the new TV series on Epix. He is right now, in The Irishman, Marty Scorsese’s next film work … probably essaying a baddie. He’s great. But some how I miss his doing standup. Come back Ray baby! … Our colleague Roger Friedman noted in his excellent Showbiz 411 column, that the Riviera Cafe in New York City; long a mainstay for late-nighters, is closing. Here’s the story: http://www.showbiz411.com/2017/08/02/greed-destroying-greenwich-village-as-famed-eatery-the-riviera-set-to-close-after-48-years.
Till next time…