That’s right, you read the blog titled correctly, country superstar Glen Campbell is taking on contemporary music and that includes Green Day. It’s not that he is the first country star to try this. Willie Nelson has recorded Fleetwood Mac and Grateful Dead songs in the past. Even legend Johnny Cash began dabbling in different genres of music before his death when he recorded the Nine Inch Nails’ song “Hurt.” And, although not country, who can forget Pat Boone’s cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Tom Jones doing Prince’s “Kiss,” or Paul Anka singing Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face.”
In addition to Green Day, Campbell will cover songs by U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jackson Browne, John Lennon, Velvet Underground, and the Foo Fighters. While the idea is not new, it certainly intrigued me as to why Glen Campbell would want to release a pop album, his first in 15 years, called “Meet Glen Campbell” in the fifth decade of his career. I mean, didn’t we already know Glen Campbell after all this time?
The 72 year old singer said that he didn’t do the songs for shock value, but rather to recapture his sound from the ‘60s, when he was cranking out such hits as “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston.” The producer of the album, Julian Raymond, grew up listening to the soothing sounds of Campbell in the ‘60s, so decided to approach him with 30 songs from his generation so Campbell could apply his sound to them. The rock songs, which include U2’s “All I Want is You” and the first single, Green Day’s “Good Riddence [Time of Your Life],” were redone as pop songs with Raymond adding orchestral arrangements and Campbell playing his famous Danelectro 6-string bass guitar. He was unfamiliar with most of the songs, so maybe that gives them more of an original feel. Campbell did say he was “so blessed that they came out as good as they did.”
Campbell is semi-retired now, but said he may do a few shows to promote the album. He is already getting positive feedback, with Keith Urban calling to say he liked the album and Yoko Ono writing a letter telling Campbell she is pleased he did one of John Lennon’s songs.
Whether the album does well or not, Campbell can afford to sit on his career laurels through retirement. He’s had 48 country hits and 34 pop hits with two singles, “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Southern Nights,” reaching the top of both charts.