The 1970s is starting to feel like a long time ago. It was the decade of my youth (ages 5-15) and so holds fond memories, albeit I expect they are probably somewhat rose-tinted. I was relatively late getting into pop music, and so much of my experience of music before the age of 12 was via. my parents, whose taste were for extreme middle-of-the-road, Radio 2 fare. As a result there are songs from that time that operate as a warm comfort blanket to my soul, that summon up memories of Sunday afternoons with crumpets by the fire, Sing Something Simple, Family Favourites. Songs like Durham Town and The Last Farewell by Roger Whittaker, There’s A Whole Lot Of Loving by Guys and Dolls, Aria by Acker Bilk.
For a long while I kept Glen Campbell in that same box. But in the same way that I have slowly been able to appreciate the likes of The Carpenters and ABBA without the baggage of credibility hanging round by neck, so I’ve come to appreciate the impeccable quality of some of Glen Campbell’s songs. Sure, some of it really does cross the line into MOR blandness. But at it’s best it is quality songs, perfectly performed. There are the supreme Jimmy Webb songs, Galveston, Wichita Lineman and By The Time I Get To Phoenix. There is Gentle On My Mind. Try A Little Kindness. Country Boy. All of them wonderful tunes. And don’t be surprised if some of those crop up on here at some point soon.
But for now it is the perfect slice of Country Pop that is Rhinestone Cowboy that gets the attention. I guess it probably is a bit cheesy, But as a song, as a 3-minute piece of pop music, it works so well. The understated opening verse, slowly building, holding back the instrumentation in those few lines before the inevitable tumble into the chorus. This song isn’t about cool, about credibility, about edginess. It’s just a good song, a tune that can’t help but get under your skin and lodge there forever.
So enough of the song. Here are the chords. As usual these have been adapted from a number of sources, but seem to work for me (and are the same key as the recording). You can choose to ignore most of the *sus4 chords if you wish. And I’m not sure whether the chord I’ve called Csus5 is actually called that, but the fingering (see bottom of the page) sounds right. I think this is a great song to belt out, either together or in the privacy of your own home. Either way, enjoy!
P.S. Came across an interesting cover version by Radiohead. Maybe that makes it slightly coo? Nah, I didn’t think so!