5 of the Most Unexpected Covers of Glen Campbell Songs
Rock, R&B and pop acts have put a spin on the most timeless Glen Campbell songs. Covers of his hits come from legends like Aretha Franklin and modern acts like Radiohead. Here are the five most unexpected versions.
Often the artists claim to be paying tribute to writer Jimmy Webb, but all five of these strange recreations came after Campbell made the song famous. The Lemonheads, R.E.M. and Isaac Hayes take a crack at songs like “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
(Warning: If played in the right set of circumstances, Hayes’ 19-minute take on our No. 2 Glen Campbell song of all time may result in a baby, with eight to 10 minutes to spare.)
You’ll find other, lesser quality covers of Campbell hits on YouTube. A Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ version of “Galveston” is particularly unexpected. We purposely omitted modern country versions of his hits. The Band Perry‘s version of “Gentle on My Mind” is wonderful, but hardly unexpected.
“Gentle on My Mind”
Aretha Franklin’s version of the song came two years after Campbell made it a hit, and did well on its own. It was an R&B hit and charted on the Billboard Hot 100. Franklin would release it on her Soul ’69 album.
This little-heard, but still special version of “Galveston” appears on an extra disc on the Lemonheads’ Car Button Cloth album from 1996.
In 1994 R.E.M. included Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston” in several live shows. Documentary footage shows the men marveling at the guitar work.
Radiohead only played this cover during live shows, but their fans mostly accepted and enjoyed the Glen Campbell classic.
“By the Time I Get to Phoenix”
This opus on Hayes’ most iconic album checks in at just under 19 minutes as the smooth R&B singer talks the listener through events that transpired prior to the roadtrip. Pour some brandy and listen to the full version here.