On May 26, 1975, Glen Campbell released the single that would later become one of his signature songs, "Rhinestone Cowboy." Due to the success of the song, people still refer to Campbell as the "Rhinestone Cowboy."
The song was originally written and recorded by Larry Weiss in 1974, but it didn't generate much buzz at the time. It did, however, catch Campbell's attention when he heard it playing on the radio. Campbell was in Australia at the time, but committed himself to learning the song before he returned home.
As chance would have it, when Campbell returned, Al Coury at Capitol Records told him that he had a song for him he thought would be a big hit, "Rhinestone Cowboy."
Campbell's fondness for the song may have developed out of the fact that he was able to identify with its message. As Steven Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic said, the song is about someone "who's aware that he's more than paid his dues during his career...but is still surviving, and someday, he'll shine just like a rhinestone cowboy."
When Campbell released his version in 1975 it wasn't long before it climbed up the charts to claim the top spot on both the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts. The track spent three non-consecutive weeks at number one on the country chart, and two on the pop chart. At one point, the song topped both charts at the same time, which was the first time an artist had managed to do so since 1961.
Campbell later earned two Grammy nominations for the song for Best Country Song and Record of the Year, which were announced on January 14, 1976. Although Campbell didn't win either award at the Grammy's, he did win countless awards for the song at the CMA's, ACM's, and AMA's.
You can watch Campbell perform his signature song in the video below.
In the years since the song's release, other country artists have performed their own cover versions, including Charley Pride and Loretta Lynn. But none can rival Campbell's version as the original "Rhinestone Cowboy."
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