Rhinestone Cowboy

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"Rhinestone Cowboy"
Single by Glen Campbell
from the album Rhinestone Cowboy
B-side Lovelight
Released May 26, 1975
Format 7"
Recorded February–March 1975
Genre Country, pop
Length 3:08
Label Capitol
Writer(s) Larry Weiss
Producer(s) Dennis Lambert, Brian Potter
Certification Gold (RIAA), Silver (BPI)
Glen Campbell singles chronology
"It's a Sin When You Love Somebody"
(1975)
"Rhinestone Cowboy"
(1975)
"Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)"
(1975)

"Rhinestone Cowboy" is a song written by Larry Weiss and most famously recorded by American country music singer Glen Campbell. The song enjoyed immense popularity with both country and pop audiences when it was released in 1975.

Background and writing[edit]

Weiss wrote and recorded "Rhinestone Cowboy" in 1974, and it appeared on his 20th Century Records album Black and Blue Suite. It did not however, have much of a commercial impact as a single. In late 1974, Campbell heard the song on the radio and, during a tour of Australia decided to learn the song. Soon after his return to the United States, Campbell went to Al Coury's office at Capitol Records, where he was approached about "a great new song" — "Rhinestone Cowboy."[1]

Several music writers noted that Campbell identified with the subject matter of "Rhinestone Cowboy" — survival and making it, particularly when the chips are down — very strongly. As Steven Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic put it, the song is about a veteran artist "who's aware that he's more than paid his dues during his career ... but is still surviving, and someday, he'll shine just like a rhinestone cowboy."[2]

Chart performance[edit]

Released in May 1975, "Rhinestone Cowboy" immediately caught on with both country and pop audiences. The song spent that summer climbing both the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts before peaking at No. 1 by season's end - three non-consecutive weeks on the country chart, two weeks on the Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the No. 2 song for 1975.[3]

During the week of September 13 — that was the week the song returned to No. 1 on the Billboard country chart, after having been nudged out for a week by "Feelins'" by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn — "Rhinestone Cowboy" topped both the country and Hot 100 charts simultaneously. This was the first time a song had accomplished the feat since November 1961, when "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean turned the trick.

"Rhinestone Cowboy" was one of six songs released in 1975 that topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. The other songs were "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" by Freddy Fender; "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" by B.J. Thomas, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "I'm Sorry"/"Calypso," both by John Denver; and "Convoy" by C.W. McCall.

The song was also the sole Glen Campbell track in a promotional-only compilation album issued by Capitol records entitled "The Greatest Music Ever Sold" (Capitol SPRO-8511/8512), that was distributed to record stores during the 1976 Holiday season as part of Capitol's "Greatest Music Ever Sold" campaign, which promoted 15 "Best Of" albums released by the record label.

Chart positions[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report) 5[4]
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[5] 4
Canada Country Tracks (RPM) 1
Canada Top Singles (RPM) 1
Canadian Adult Contemporary Tracks (RPM) 7
Germany (Media Control Charts)[6] 31
Ireland (IRMA) 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[7] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[8] 2
South African Singles Chart 2
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[9] 17
U.K. Singles Chart 4
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks 1

Year-End Chart[edit]

Chart (1975) Peak
position
Irish Singles Chart 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Cashbox Top 100 2
Canadian RPM Top Singles 4
U.K. Singles Chart 21
Belgian VRT Top 30 43
Australian Kent Music Report 50
Dutch Top 40 81

Awards[edit]

"Rhinestone Cowboy" was certified gold for sales of 1 million units by the Recording Industry Association of America. [2]

The song became one of Glen Campbell's signature songs and won numerous awards from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, and American Music Awards. It also obtained nominations for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song as well as for Record of the Year, but did not win.

Use in films[edit]

"Rhinestone Cowboy" served as the basis for the 1984 movie Rhinestone, starring Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton.

The song also continues to be heard in movies and television, making the soundtracks of High School High and Daddy Day Care, as well as being used in an episode of "Desperate Housewives" and "The Jamie Foxx Show".

Covers[edit]

"Rhinestone Cowboy" has been covered by Thom Yorke and Radiohead, Soul Asylum, Belle and Sebastian, Lloyd Green, Charley Pride, Loretta Lynn, White Town, David Hasselhoff, DJ Z-Trip & DJ P, Daz Sampson, and Chris Ledoux. In an episode of Family Guy, "There's Something About Paulie", Peter Griffin (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) sang a brief version of the song.

Belgian singer Claire recorded the song in 1975 as "Vreemde Vogels" ("Strange Birds") and had a substantial hit with her version in Flanders.

Slim Whitman covered the song in 1976 on his Red River Valley album.

Renée Martel, a singer from Quebec, has made a French cover "Cowgirl Dorée", as did French singer Michèle Torr ("Je M'appelle Michèle").

John Barrowman has made a cover version that he has sung during his UK concert tour. He cites it as being a favorite of his partner Scott.

Guns N' Roses performed the song live at the Tokyo Dome in Japan on December, 19th, 2009.

Filipino singer/songwriter Fred Panopio recorded a Filipino novelty version titled "Kawawang Cowboy" ("Pitiful Cowboy").[10]

"Tony Clifton" prominently featured the song in his national tour of "The Return of Tony Clifton", backed by his Katrina Kiss My Ass Orchestra.

South African singer Ray Dylan covered it on his album "Goeie Ou Country - Vol.3".[11]

Succession[edit]

Preceded by
"Please Mr. Please" by Olivia Newton-John
Billboard Easy Listening Singles number-one single by Glen Campbell
August 2, 1975
Succeeded by
"At Seventeen" by Janis Ian
Preceded by
"Wasted Days and Wasted Nights"
by Freddy Fender
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number one single

August 23, 1975- August 30, 1975
Succeeded by
"Feelins'"
by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn
Preceded by
"Feelins'"
by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number one single

September 13, 1975
Succeeded by
"Daydreams About Night Things"
by Ronnie Milsap
Preceded by
"The Seeker"
by Dolly Parton
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

August 30, 1975
Succeeded by
"Please Mr. Please"
by Olivia Newton-John
Preceded by
"Get Down Tonight" by KC and the Sunshine Band
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
September 6, 1975
Succeeded by
"Fame" by David Bowie
Preceded by
"There Won't Be Anymore"
by Charlie Rich
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single of the year

1975
Succeeded by
"Convoy"
by C. W. McCall

References[edit]

External links[edit]