Gentle on My Mind (song)

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"Gentle on My Mind"
Single by Glen Campbell
from the album Gentle on My Mind
B-side "Just Another Man"
Released June 19, 1967
July 1968 (re-release)
Format 7"
Recorded May 17, 1967
Genre Country
Length 2:58
Label Capitol 5939
Writer(s) John Hartford
Producer(s) Al DeLory
Glen Campbell singles chronology
"Burning Bridges"
(1967)
"Gentle on My Mind"
(1967)
"By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
(1967)

"Gentle on My Mind" is a song written by John Hartford,[1] which won two 1968 Grammy Awards. Hartford himself won the award for Best Folk Performance. The other award, Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male, went to American country music singer Glen Campbell for his version of Hartford's song. It was released in June 1967 as the only single from the album of the same name. It was re-released in July 1968 to more success. Glen Campbell's version has received over 5 million plays on the radio. Campbell used "Gentle on My Mind" as the theme to his television variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour between 1969 and 1972. However, Dean Martin's version, recorded in 1968, was more successful in terms of chart-position. The song was ranked number 16 on BMI's Top 100 Songs of the Century.[2]

Background and writing[edit]

Hartford reported that he was inspired to write the song after seeing the film Doctor Zhivago when his own memories took over, and that it took about thirty minutes to write down.

Campbell's hit recording has an interesting history of its own. Campbell had heard Hartford's original version on the radio and decided at once that he wanted to record it. At the time, Campbell was under contract with Capitol Records as a solo artist but had little success in establishing a name for himself in the public eye. Campbell gathered some of his fellow session players from the famous "Wrecking Crew" gang (one of which being Leon Russell who was later listed as the producer of the album by the same name) to come into the Capitol studio to record a demo version that he could pitch to his producer. Between phrases and stanzas, Campbell would yell instructions to the players. He then left the rough recording for his producer to listen to. His producer fell in love, not only with the song, but with the recording itself. Without telling Campbell, he took the tape back into the studio and removed the unwanted verbiage from between the phrases. He then released the demo recording, which became a mega-hit for Campbell when it was released a second time in the wake of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix".

"I went to see the movie Doctor Zhivago the night I wrote it. Everyone's made a whole lot out of that. I know it gave me a feeling that caused me to start writing, but as far as saying it came from that, I don't know. It just came from experience. While I was writing it, if I had any idea that was going to be a hit, it probably would have come out differently and it wouldn't have been a hit. That just came real fast, a blaze, a blur."

John Hartford
On: "Gentle on My Mind" [3]


Chart performance[edit]

Glen Campbell version[edit]

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report) 88
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 30
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 62
Chart (1968) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 20
Canadian RPM Top Singles 60
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 44
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 39
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 8

Aretha Franklin version[edit]

American singer Aretha Franklin recorded the song in 1969 and released it as a single as the B-side to "I Can't See Myself Leaving You". Her version peaked at number 76 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 50 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. The song was featured on her album Soul '69.

Chart (1969) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 76
U.S. Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles 50

Dean Martin version[edit]

American singer Dean Martin recorded the song in 1968 and released it as a single. His version peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles chart and number 9 on the U.S. Billboard Easy Listening chart, making this version the highest-charting version of all (as opposed to Glen Campbell's most-listened-to rendition).

Chart (1969) Peak
position
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 2
U.S. Billboard Bubbling UnderHot 100 3
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 9

Patti Page version[edit]

American singer Patti Page recorded the song in 1968 and released it as a single. Her version peaked at number 66 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 7 on the U.S. Billboard Easy Listening chart.

Chart (1968) Peak
position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 66
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 7

Covers[edit]

Altogether it has been recorded by over 300 different artists, and Campbell's version remains the best known in the United States.

The actor/singer Leonard Nimoy covered the song for his second album Two Sides of Leonard Nimoy. As per the commentaries on the very back album of the very second album, "the kind of song that Nimoy personally loves to sing."

Elvis Presley recorded the song at American Sound Studios in Memphis in January 1969, and the song featured on the award winning album From Elvis in Memphis.

Roger Miller also recorded the song for his 1968 Smash/Mercury Records release A Tender Look at Love.

Andy Williams released a version in 1969 on his album, Happy Heart.

Danish singer John Mogensen recorded a Danish version of the song in 1975, entitled Ensomhedens Gade Nr. 9 ("Lonely Street No. 9").

More recently, it was recorded by Lucinda Williams and this version was featured over the closing credits in the 2006 comedy movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

The Moody Brothers recorded a version of the song with John Hartford playing banjo on their "Friends" album recorded in Prague, Czechoslovakia in 1988.

R.E.M. performs a cover of this song on Sounds Eclectic: The Covers Project, a covers album released by alternative radio KCRW with the participation of 15 different artists.

Claude François translated the lyrics into French and recorded it as Si Douce A Mon Souvenir

In 1984, Brazilian singer-songwriter Roberto Carlos translated the lyrics into Portuguese (with Erasmo Carlos) and recorded it as Caminhoneiro ("Trucker" in Portuguese), played over 3.000 times on the Brazilian airwaves in just one day.

Trini Lopez included "Gentle on My Mind" on his Reprise Records album Welcome to Trini Country (Reprise R-6300)

Johnny Cash covered the song in his last years, released posthumously his Unearthed Recordings.

Benny Hill also covered the song in one of his skits. It's titled 'The Dustbins Of Your Mind'.

Crooked Fingers recorded a cover of the song for their 2010 cover album Reservoir Songs Volume Two

The Tallest Man on Earth covered this song live, starting during his Spring 2011 tour that began at Coachella 2011

Seasick Steve covered this song live, amongst other places he performed it at Carfest, UK, and during his tour in Europe in 2013

Jon Flemming Olsen covered this song in early 2014 on his album 'Immer wieder weiter' with german lyrics. He translated only a few lines of the original. Olsen has re-written the majority of the text. It's titled 'Das wird immer sein'.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 40 - Ballad in Plain D: Bob Dylan. [1966] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  2. ^ "BMI Announces Top 100 Songs of the Century". Broadcast Music, Inc. 13 December 1999. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  3. ^ Jarvey, Paul. - Hartford Has a Prolific Hand". - Telegram & Gazette. - July 15, 1992.

External links[edit]