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Glen Campbell: Rhinestone Cowboy

Glen Campbell: Rhinestone Cowboy

Fri Jan 18, 9-10pm, BBC4

By Gabriel Tate

In hindsight, ‘Wichita Lineman’ was an even snugger fit for Glen Campbell than it seemed at the time. Jimmy Webb’s melancholy masterpiece of yearning and separation made an apt signature tune for a man who took his time to find himself, only for Alzheimer’s to ensure that last year’s tour would be his public swansong. Having worked his way up from near-destitution in Arkansas thanks to a combination of ambition, chutzpah and self-taught musical prowess, the country-pop icon played guitar for everyone from Sinatra to the Beach Boys before finally carving out his own solo career. Drink and drugs beckoned, but not before his spectacular run of (mostly Webb-penned) hits, his own TV show and a performance in John Wayne oater ‘True Grit’ that even he conceded was terrible. Even those with an aversion to misty-eyed tales of religious salvation can’t begrudge him this happy ending of sorts, and this is a warm but not uncritical appraisal of a country-pop icon.


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