Sunday, January 8, 2012

Glen Campbell, David Bowie, Jimmy Page and Elvis Presley: It's Monday Madness!

Yesterday was Elvis Presley's birthday. I have nothing prepared. I'll just say this. 1956 Elvis, G.I. Elvis, Elvis movies..."Clambake" and "Change Of Habit" included...fat Elvis, Vegas Elvis, druggy Elvis, peanut butter and bacon Elvis, country Elvis, and especially '68 "Comeback" Elvis... it's all great Elvis. Why? 'Cause he's fucking Elvis. So, Happy Birthday, Elvis Aron Presley. Just about everyone wants to be you, whether or not they say so. (Except maybe Josh Groban.)

And while I've got you, how come nobody named Elvis before Elvis did anything to make the world refer to him as just Elvis?

Saw Glen Campbell on Saturday night. The "Goodbye Tour" hit NYC's Town Hall. I was there.


I saw Glen Campbell.

"Wichita Lineman."

His guitar playing was off the hook. Not just flashy, but tasty and creative. He knew exactly what he was doing

"Wichita Lineman."

Got a ride home.

His voice, near perfect.

"Wichita Lineman."


The band, which consisted of Glen's kids, shouldn't have been the band. I'm sure there was a reason, as Ashley, his 20-something year-old daughter kept a keen eye on him, and helped him plenty, guiding him, cueing lyrics, and just reminding him who and where he was, throughout what was probably a difficult most nights, I assume...for a man in his condition. My friend referred to them as "functional." I guess that's fair. I believe Glen deserved better for his farewell tour. Am I being petty?

Aside from that, I've got nothing.


I wouldn't have missed it for the world. A fantastic night. He had me at "Gentle On My Mind," an opening that I will never forget. It was hard to ignore the Alzheimer's. At times, Glen's behavior left you squirming to find a way to help. We can only imagine what he's feeling.

Jimmy Page turns 68 today. I won't bore you with another 50 words on why the mighty Zep is important or why there's more to this band than just their first two records, or how brilliant their improvisational skills were when performing live. No. I won't waste 50 words on stuff you already know just because it's Jimmy's birthday. It's not like he's reading. Instead, take a listen to the short piece music above from the otherwise forgettable "Death Wish II" soundtrack. I've always loved his playing on this.

Speaking of birthdays...The Dame, Miss David Bowie, turned 65 yesterday. I won't begin to expound on just what kind of Bowie fan I am. The photo below should give you an idea of how he affected me in the late 70s. My gift to you.

There is a lengthy Bowie post in our future.  Until then, here is a monster performance from October of 2002, one of my very favorites.  Just look at this set list. I mean, the fucking "Bewlay Brothers."

It's a long show, so it's broken into 3 zips.

Have fun.


Life On Mars
Ashes To Ashes
Look Back In Anger
Breaking Glass
China Girl
Slip Away
Absolute Beginners
Alabama Song
Speed Of Life
Be My Wife
I'm Afraid Of Americans
5:15 The Angels Have Gone
I've Been Waiting For You
Rebel Rebel
Heathen (The Rays)
I Would Be Your Slave
Moonage Dayream
A New Career In A New Town
Everyone Says "Hi"
The Bewlay Brothers
Sound & Vision
Hallo Spaceboy
Let's Dance
Ziggy Stardust





FD13NYC said...

Wow, Glen Campbell huh? Would've liked to have been there. I guess his great old songs will just have to do me.

Going to Nashville and Memphis in June. Finally getting to see Graceland, Sun Studios and the Stax museum, plus more, can't wait.

Great Bowie set, sounds terrific, pretty inclusive, thanks for that one. For some strange reason I don't remember you looking like that picture. Must have been a phase, and not a long one.

James A. Gardner said...

Your comments on the Glen Campbell concert are heartbreaking. I feel fortunate to have seen him do the identical show (down to the "ad libs") captured on his 1969 Glen Campbell Live set. This was a guy who covered Jacques Brel and "Yakety Sax" in the same show, and made it work.
I played that 1969 concert album for my kids, who couldn't quite understand why Ghost on the Canvas tore me up so.
Ah, Elvis. One of my most bittersweet concert memories is seeing him at Indianapolis' Market Square arena, in what turned out to be his last appearance. He was so keen on "Moody Blue" he did it twice, not because he was hazed out, just because "ah really dig that, man." Yeah, he was fat and pasty, and he did some gawdawful material. His voice, though, was still huge and his presence was undeniable.
Forgot about his death anniversary until I caught Spinout on TV. Weird, weird film.
A great post, Sal.

Chris Collins said...

this Bowie show is unbelievable.

And I'm jealous about the Glen Campbell show.

misospecial said...

a very few words, as i can no longer stall the ravening deadline beast that is pounding on my door:
1) fucking elvis (yes!)
2) dame bowie (awwwww-right!)
3) glam sal (awwwww...)

and last:
campbell's goodbye tour. very moving. as TR said once, there are no words...

jeff k said...

You know, I love Wichita Lineman and Galveston. The guy could really deliver a song, and of course, he did all that great session work in the early 60s and was a charming presence on the Smother Bros.

But while I appreciate his talent, there are plenty other people whose passing I find a whole lot sadder. He hung around with those lowlifes Bob Hope and John Wayne and was a rock-ribbed Republican in the Vietnam era when where you stood on the these issues and who your pals were said a lot about you, and then later a good percentage of his royalties went up his nose.

I'm sorry he's sick. I'm glad he has the chance to say farewell, but he's no hero of mine.

Sal Nunziato said...

@Jeff K.

You know, there is one loyal Burning Wood reader who comments occasionally, but never fails to spew anti-Bruce remarks whenever I do a Springsteen post. I find it fascinating that most of the music that this reader listens to is no different...really...than what Bruce writes and sings about. It's American music. But it's not really the songs on "Nebraska" that bother him, it's more like "Born In The USA" that stops him from appreciating anything else.

I have these same conversations with friends who are athiests when they get slightly put off by gospel music.

Glen is certainly not a "hero" of mine, but I think the praise being heaved his way these days has been mostly about the music.

Robin said...

I don't know if I could have handled the Campbell concert. It is heartbreaking. That honeyed voice, that guitar...he was and is really something. I'm listening to him and Bobbie Gentry right now.

Played Elvis Country (the one w/the baby pic) all day yesterday, Happy BDay EP, my mom's fave shining star. I still remember her coming home from work crying on August 16th, 1977, "my Elvis is gone". I'd just gotten home from school and I'd never seen her cry like that over someone she didn't know. I really understood then what he meant to people-and how cheated they felt at his dying so young, that he'd been abandoned/given up on himself, she kept saying, "if he just had someone who could have helped him, he still had so much to give"- and it moved me to really discover his music beyond what I thought I knew. I was an "At Sun/first/second album/From Elvis in Memphis only" snob for a while, but no longer. Elvis is Elvis as you say.

Jimmy...I'm not sure I can listen to him objectively. For me, there's a sensitivity in his playing that always gets to me. Even on the heavy stuff.

Thanks for the Bowie.

Dave said...

Gee, I didn't even know Campbell was at Town Hall. I would have tried to go if I had known. I try not to miss any opportunity to see Jimmy Webb when he plays in NYC. When you watch JW strain to hist the notes to "Wichita Lineman," you get a sense of what an instrument GC's voice is.

Anonymous said...

Elvis had more talent in his little finger then everyone else in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame combined, and he pissed it away! What a waste. Oh, what could have been if the stars had alined properly.



I almost really feel this way but some of it is just venting because I get so sad thinking of all the great music he might have created.

William Repsher said...

Sal, thought that Bowie photo of you from the 70s was a promo shot of Linda Manz from Dennis Hopper's 1980 movie Out of the Blue.

Won't be sharing the 1978 photo where I tried to emulate the cover of Heroes. Even at 5' 11" and 150 lbs. I was about 20 lbs too heavy to get anywhere near the look Bowie had.

A guy called Tak said...

I saw Glen in Vegas around 83. It was a double bill - guess who? Ray Charles!
Ray did first and Glen did his thing next.
Most of the Vegas crowds were there for Glen, of course.(Poor Ray)
Anyway, the show was good but somehow he did not look very enthusiastic. I love his outputs until early 70's. And his music got worn out but the last couple of albums were surprisingly excellent.
I'm really glad he is capable of doing the final(?) tour. I wish I could see the shows.

Never seen Jimmy Page live, as of Bowie, saw him three times (70's, 80's, and 90's) and met him in NY when he signed to EMI. I did an interview with him for Japanese distribution. He was a very gentleman and easy to work with.
He still looks good for his age.

FRANCIE said...

SAL, All I can say is THANKS for the most wonderul MONDAY POST. I enjoyed every word that you wrote!!!!! I Still love & miss ELVIS. Would have enjoyed the GP show. ETC. DITTO to everything you wrote !!!! That PHOTO of you is AMAZING, Like BOWIE much ??????? MONDAY MADNESS is a good thing . YOU ROCK, FRAN