The NME office is currently feeling very, very sad about the death of Glen Campbell. One of the American greats, the country singer passed away yesterday (August 8) at the age 81, leaving a gaping hole in the modern musical landscape. He was best known for his 1960s and 1970s renditions of ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, ‘Wichita Lineman’, ‘By The Time I Get To Phoenix’ and ‘Galveston’, but over the course of his epic career he released a whopping 60 albums – including late period gem ‘Meet Glen Campbell’ (2008) which included covers of tracks by Foo Fighters and Green Day, as well as U2, The Replacements, the Velvet Underground and erm, Travis.
And these covers aren’t just good – they’re bloody great. Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)’ and Foo Fighters’ ‘Times Like These’ are turned into supremely jaunty country anthems, with Campbell’s warm, buttery voice liberally slathered all over the sweetly twanging Americana backing band.
Glen Campbell was the master of making other people’s material sound like the direct outpourings of his own heart – his biggest hits were written by songwriter Jimmy Webb – and his renditions of two of alt-rock’s biggest ballads sound totally fresh, as if he was the first artist to ever lay them to tape. We’ll miss Campbell not just for his masterful way with music, but for his warmth and evident passion for the art of song. Yep, even the Travis cover.