|Single by Glen Campbell|
|from the album Galveston|
|B-side||"How Come Every Time I Itch I Wind Up Scratchin' You"|
|Released||February 24, 1969|
|Recorded||November 27, 1968 and January 9, 1969|
Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California
|Genre||Country pop, soft rock|
|Glen Campbell singles chronology|
"Galveston" is a song written by Jimmy Webb and popularized by American country music singer Glen Campbell who recorded it with the instrumental backing of members of The Wrecking Crew. In 2003, this song ranked number 8 in CMT's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music. Campbell's version of the song also went to number 1 on the country music charts. On other charts, "Galveston" went to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the "Easy Listening" charts. It was certified gold by the RIAA in October 1969.
Background and writing
The protagonist is a soldier waiting to go into battle who thinks of the woman he loves and his hometown of Galveston, Texas. The song was first released in 1968 by a mournful-sounding Don Ho, who introduced Glen Campbell to it when Ho appeared as a guest on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Campbell's recording of the song, released in early 1969, was perceived by many (who listened carefully to the lyrics) as being a Vietnam War protest song, but Campbell performed it up-tempo. In his original promo video, Campbell was dressed as a soldier in a military-style outfit. Webb has challenged the implication of Campbell's version that it was in any way "a patriotic song". According to Webb, the song is "about a guy who's caught up in something he doesn't understand and would rather be somewhere else".
In Ho's recording, the second verse was:
- Galveston, oh Galveston
- Wonder if she could forget me
- I'd go home if they would let me
- Put down this gun
- And go to Galveston.
However, in both Campbell's version and in Webb’s own 1972 release (and his later performances), this verse was:
- Galveston, oh Galveston
- I still hear your sea waves crashing
- While I watch the cannons flashing
- I clean my gun
- And dream of Galveston.
Other Cover Versions
Within a year of Campbell's hit version, Rolling Stone states, "recordings of “Galveston” had sold six million copies, having been cut by 27 different artists, from fellow country star Faron Young to jazz great Dizzy Gillespie."
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Songwriter Jimmy Webb’s melancholy ode to a simpler time exemplified what one might consider to be the "tonal protest song," replacing as it does more typical anti-war language with a reflection on the emotional uncertainty of war that even hawks in the heartland could identify with.
- "Jimmy Webb - "Galveston" (Live for WFUV)". YouTube. 2010-07-28. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
In a Sound Observations interview, he claimed: “If there was a statement, and obviously I was saying something, I prefer to say it wasn’t anti-war – that it was more about an individual getting involved in a war and realizing that he’d rather be somewhere else.” He then went on to explain that it was not to be a “hit-you-over-the-head” protest song.
- "The Ambiguous Anti-War Underpinnings of "Galveston"". Chimes of Freedom. 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
- "Galveston". YouTube. 2012-07-27. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "Glen Campbell & Jimmy Webb GALVESTON". YouTube. 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- Stephen L Betts (March 15, 2019). "Glen Campbell's 'Galveston' at 50: Inside the Album's Classic Title Track". Retrieved June 21, 2020.
- "Go-Set Australian charts - 10 May 1969". Poparchives.com.au. 1969-05-10. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
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- "Go-Set Magazine Charts". www.poparchives.com.au. Barry McKay. January 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
- "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2016-10-02.
- "Top 100 Hits of 1969/Top 100 Songs of 1969". Musicoutfitters.com. Retrieved 2017-07-21.
- "Cash Box Year-End Charts: Top 100 Pop Singles, December 27, 1969". Archived from the original on January 25, 2019. Retrieved August 8, 2017.