Tag Archives: 1969

50 years ago: Underground Sunshine

Underground Sunshine band photo

50 years ago, in 1969, the members of a garage band from Montello, a small town in south-central Wisconsin, went on the ride of their lives.

Early that year, Underground Sunshine was playing teen dances, roadhouses and clubs across the southern half of Wisconsin. Jack’s, along U.S. Highway 12 in Baraboo, was one such place. The Airway Bar in Marshfield was another. The Oconomowoc Teenage Republican Club dance at the Oconomowoc High School gym was another such gig.

But by summer, Underground Sunshine’s cover of the Beatles’ “Birthday” was all over the radio. The rocket was lit.

Wednesday, May 28, 1969

Underground Sunshine signs a recording contract with Mercury Records, which plans to release “Birthday” on its Intrepid label.

Tuesday, June 3, 1969

“Birthday” is released on Intrepid. (The 7-inch, Intrepid 75002, is out of print, as are all of Underground Sunshine’s recordings.)

Here’s the flip side. “All I Want Is You” is an original by band members Berty Koelbl, Frank Koelbl and Rex Rhode, all classmates at Montello High School. It’s clearly influenced by the Outsiders’ “Time Won’t Let Me.” There’s also a pleasant enough pop-psych jam in the middle.

Single version, stripped down

LP version with a more polished sound

Thursday, June 26, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays the first park teen dance of the summer at the Vilas Park Shelter in Madison.

Sunday, June 29, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays a midday show — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. — at the Gimbels store at the Hilldale Shopping Center in Madison. (The top photo is from an ad for that gig.)

The first week of July 1969

Underground Sunshine plays a week-long stand at the Club Sahara, a nightclub on the east side of Green Bay. Warren Gerds, the young entertainment writer for the local paper, the Press-Gazette, profiles the band for the lead item in his column. He also writes a feature story on its light man.

What follows are Gerds’ column lead and excerpts from his feature story on the light man, published two days apart.

Thursday, July 3, 1969

What has happened to the Underground Sunshine is what all young rock and roll groups dream about: Quick success.

Two years ago, the Montello, Wisconsin, band didn’t exist. Come August, it will be pulling in $1,000 a night.

How come? “We’ve got a fabulous manager,” leader Berty Koelbl said during a break at Club Sahara. Berty said [Jon Little of WISM radio (Madison)] considerably changed the fortunes of his group.

“He gave us places to play. He knows a lot of club owners.”

It was also Little who suggested the rock quartet record “Birthday,” a Beatles song. The Underground Sunshine version hasn’t made the Green Bay charts yet, but it’s No. 30 in Milwaukee.

Berty said “Birthday” is helping bolster his band’s pocketbook. “Before ‘Birthday,’ we were getting $150 a night. Soon we’ll be up to $1,000,” he said. The band is getting $800 a week at the Club Sahara because it signed for that figure three months ago, Berty said.

Underground Sunshine’s “Birthday” is also bolstering the Beatles’ till at the rate of two cents a record. That’s the price for rights to the song.

Berty said his group’s version is different from the Beatles’. “First, there’s the organ lead, which the Beatles didn’t use. We also brought the singing up louder.”

Berty said he has qualms about “Birthday.” “People have been hearing another version of the Beatles,” he said. “It’s always better to record your own material.”

That’s what Berty intends to do at the next record cutting session, which will be held in a few weeks. Berty’s composition “Take Me, Break Me,” will be cut then. He also wrote “All I Want Is You,” which is on the flip side of the current record.

It is Berty’s aim to add more original songs so the group can create its own image.

“Right now, we don’t play much original stuff — only two songs. But within a month, we’ll be doing two-hour routines, and probably 90 percent of it will be our own material … except for “Birthday” because that’s what gave us the start.”

Aside from Berty on bass guitar and vocals, the band consists of Berty’s brother, Frank, drums; a relation of manager Jon Little, Janie Little, organ; Rex Rhode, lead guitar; and Bruce Brown, lights.

The idea for the light man came from watching Milwaukee and Chicago groups, Berty said. “I got tired of pushing my foot down on the floor for lights,” he said.

Bruce Brown at the switchboard.Saturday, July 5, 1969

Bruce Brown, 18, operates the unique switchboard for the lighting system.

As sort of visual accompanist, Bruce manipulates light switches to the tempos of rock music. The result of his effort is like watching a miniature, rhythmic, multicolored lightning storm.

Other rock groups have lighting systems, but none quite so complex that they need a special man to run them.

Brown is in charge of $600 worth of electrical equipment. The custom-made switchboard controls the strobe (quick-flashing) and black lights and 16 multicolored lights in four banks.

Two of the four-light banks flank the band, and the other two face it. Brown sits off to one side, behind an amplifier.

“I work with the feeling of the song most of the time,” Brown said. “Sometimes I work with the rhythm of the song, and sometimes I don’t. It depends on the song.”

Brown said he got his job by hanging around the Underground Sunshine players while they were practicing. “They just wanted more lights on them, and I was always around them.”

“They used to practice in the lead guitarist’s basement, and I used to work their lighting system, just to get them in the mood,” Brown said. “It was something to do, rather than be on the street.”

The switchboard was built with the aid of Brown’s father, who is an electrician.

“We all got together and worked out what we wanted. It took an afternoon to do that and two other days to make the switchboard.”

He has been doing his light work for a year.

Saturday, Aug. 2, 1969

Underground Sunshine appears with Dick Clark on ABC’s “American Bandstand,” having flown to Hollywood to tape an appearance earlier in the week. They play “All I Want Is You” and then “Birthday,” of course.

[If the video doesn’t queue up properly, start it at 26:10.]

Underground Sunshine’s main lineup appears on the show. The Koelbl brothers — stage names Berty Kohl and Frank Kohl — are on bass and drums, respectively. Berty is just about to turn 20. Frank is 21. Chris Connors, whose real name was John Dahlberg, plays lead guitar. He’s 22. He’d just joined the band, having auditioned after answering an ad in the Milwaukee Journal. They needed a lead guitarist because Rhode had quit in a dispute over equipment. Jane Little, whose real name was Jane Whirry, plays keyboards. She’s 18 and just out of high school.

“The group was outfitted by The Hub in Madison before their trip to the ABC color studios,” the Capital Times newspaper of Madison reported. The Hub was a clothing store.

That night, Underground Sunshine plays a gig at the Armory in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. After that, the band heads to Chicago for recording sessions.

Saturday, Aug. 9, 1969

KGV Summer Music Festival adIn July, the Green Bay writer reports: “Because of the success of the record, the band has signed a contract to play with the nationally-known Vanilla Fudge in an August concert at Pittsburgh.”

The Shower of Stars show, part of the KGV Summer Music Festival, takes place at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh.

Underground Sunshine gets third billing behind Vanilla Fudge and Illusion but is listed ahead of Andy Kim, Joe Jeffrey and “other acts.”

Wednesday, Aug. 13, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays the “Dance of the Summer” at Memorial Hall in Racine.

Saturday, Sept. 6, 1969

Underground Sunshine’s cover of “Birthday” peaks at No. 26 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. It’s a big hit in the late summer of 1969. It reaches No. 2 on the Hit Parade at WLS radio in Chicago in mid-August, but can’t displace the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman.”

Thursday, Sept. 18, 1969

Underground Sunshine’s follow-up single, a cover of Bread’s “Don’t Shut Me Out,” backed with “Take Me, Break Me,” an original, is out this week. It peaks at No. 102.

Here’s that single.

Here’s the LP version of the flip side, 11-plus minutes of jamming, rambling and noodling.

After the single’s release, the group sets out on a tour of the South, then plans to take a little time off.

November 1969

Underground Sunshine releases its only album, “Let There Be Light,” on Intrepid. Only two of its eight songs are originals. On the rest, they cover the Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival twice, along with Bread and the Spencer Davis Group. It was recorded at Ter-Mar Recording Studios — more commonly known as Chess Studios — at 2121 S. Michigan Ave. in Chicago.

Friday-Saturday, Dec. 5-6, 1969

Underground Sunshine is back at Jack’s on Highway 12 in Baraboo.

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 1969

Underground Sunshine plays at a teen dance at the Cow Palace at the Fond du Lac County Fairgrounds Park in Fond du Lac.

The rest of the story

“Birthday” was the only hit for Underground Sunshine, which in late 1969 and sometime in 1970 released two other singles that went nowhere in the charts.

Their third single was an original, “9 to 5 (Ain’t My Bag),” written by Dave Wayne (real name Dave Waehner), who’d replaced Jane Little on keyboards.

The last of their singles was a cover of “Jesus Is Just Alright,” which was covered by the Byrds in 1969 and by the Doobie Brothers in 1972.

The end

Underground Sunshine broke up in 1970. The rocket had flamed out.

Why? When Wisconsin music historian Gary E. Myers interviewed the band members 26 years ago, in 1993, there was no consensus. Money problems, with some making too much and others not enough. Too much weed being smoked. Boy-girl problems, including too many groupies.

Some 20 years after the breakup, the Koelbl brothers and Rhode revived Underground Sunshine for a short time.

“(Underground Sunshine) gave us a lot of opportunities and I had a lot of great experiences. Got to see a lot of the country. Got to see a lot of different things,” Frank Koelbl told Myers in 1993.

“It’s been a very, very good learning experience. Even the way it was done, I would not trade anything for it,” Bert Koelbl told Myers in 1993.

 

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Filed under November 2019, Sounds

It’s all too much

50 years ago, as September turned to October in 1969, Green Bay was waiting for the Beatles.

It had been almost a year since the Beatles’ previous LP, the one they called “The Beatles” and the one everyone else called The White Album.

The Stiller Company, which had long sold records from its music department, in late September promised the “new Beatle LP” and listed a release date of Friday, Oct. 3. But Oct. 3 apparently came and went without that new Beatles record. For the next two weeks, the “new Beatle L.P.” was “coming soon!”

The Beatles’ new record apparently finally arrived in Green Bay sometime in the third week of October 1969, when the Stiller Co. ad listed the new “Beatle L.P.” as being in stock along with new albums from The Band, Tom Jones and, uh, one Laura Nyrol.

The new Beatles record, of course, was “Abbey Road.” Imagine, just imagine, the anticipation for that.

Fast forward 50 years to today. The recently reissued 50th anniversary “Abbey Road” shot up to No. 1 in the UK and to No. 3 here in the States. Apparently quite a bit of anticipation for that, too. Or was that just marketing hype?

I think I’m good with my copy of “Abbey Road,” which I bought used decades ago. (Mine appears to be a pressing from the Capitol Records plant in Jacksonville, Fla., though not a first pressing.)

I don’t want or need any of the seven formats in which it’s been reissued, though I hope my friend Timebomb Tom sells a bunch of them:

  • Super deluxe edition with three CDs and a Blu-Ray, plus a book
  • Double CD set with a second disc of demos and outtakes
  • Single CD with just the stereo remix
  • Triple LP box set with two additional discs of demos and outtakes
  • Single LP with just the stereo remix
  • Single picture disc LP with just the stereo remix
  • Super Deluxe digital audio, with 40 tracks to stream or download in hi-res 96kHz/24 bit audio

Though I have always loved the Beatles and will always love the Beatles …

Though I have a dozen Beatles records (and have sold “Live at the Star-Club” and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, Volumes 1 and 2”) …

Though I have a bunch of wonderful Beatles memorabilia, particularly “Yellow Submarine” stuff, much of it given as gifts …

Though I recently bought rough, loved-to-death $1 copies of six Beatles LPs, including what appears to be a first Jacksonville pressing of “Abbey Road” …

I think I’m good with most everything Beatles now, too.

Janet just smiled when I said that to her the other day.

At some point, you have to say it’s all too much.

… Though I still want to visit Liverpool and London and stroll across the Abbey Road crosswalk some day.

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Filed under October 2019, Sounds

By the time we got to Woodstock

So many great adventures begin with someone asking, “Hey, want to come along?”

That’s how my friend Tony Baldwin found himself at Woodstock 50 years ago tonight, on Friday, Aug. 15, 1969.

Woodstock soundtrack LP

Tony was 17 at the time, living in Indianapolis and just about to begin his senior year of high school.

“If you’re not doing anything, you can come with us,” said Tony’s sister Jean, who was 21 or 22 at the time. So Tony piled into a VW bus with his sister, her husband Mike and another guy, a friend of theirs. They headed east.

“Thursday, we drove straight through. We stopped in New York City to see somebody there, but we weren’t there long. When we got to the site (in Bethel, N.Y.), it was Friday, early afternoon. It was of course people everywhere. We didn’t have a tent, but we parked the bus. It was total chaos, pretty much. We found a spot. It had already started,” Tony told me last night, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Woodstock festival.

“We had no idea what this thing was,” he said of Woodstock.

“We didn’t know where it was. We just followed everybody. We walked and walked. It took forever to get there,” Tony said.

“By the time we got there, it was late afternoon. There was no fence. It was already down. We didn’t have any tickets. We just walked over the fence, a chain link fence.”

Sounds great, right?

“If you see the movie, we are at the top of the hill. There was a hill, then a gully, then the stage. We couldn’t get any closer. There was music, but we didn’t know who it was. They had a poor PA system,” Tony said.

As 9:30 p.m. approached, the kids from Indy finally heard something clear enough to make some sense of it.

After a bunch of announcements from the stage — among them a marriage proposal, someone needing insulin, someone having lost a duffel bag with all their possessions — there was this:

“Let’s welcome Mr. Tim Hardin.”

“We heard Tim Hardin being introduced, then heard a little bit of him,” Tony said.

“That was it. We stayed at the site for no more than an hour. Can’t hear, can’t see, can’t get any closer.

“Then we left the top of the hill. It was after dark. We went to try to find our campsite. We made it back to our parking spot. By that time, it probably had started to rain. It was very hot and humid.”

The next morning …

“Saturday morning, the people I came with, they decided this is ridiculous. We’re gonna leave. We saw zero acts, we saw zero people. It’s miserable. It’s rainy. It’s not fun. We’re leaving,” Tony recalled.

“We left late Saturday morning, probably. We piled in the bus and we drove very slowly. It was just mud, ruts from the cars, and we followed the ruts out. We had the side of the bus open. I was in the back. The friend also was in the back. There were clothes, beer, in the back. We’re driving like 2 mph. It was like rush hour traffic.”

On the way out …

“A guy wants a ride. We said sure. He gets in, and the guy grabs Jean’s purse and takes off. The friend took off after the guy. Probably 10 minutes later, he comes back with the purse,” Tony said.

“We got to the highway, probably drove straight through back to home. We probably got home late Sunday.”

Some lingering memories …

— “I wish I did see all of it, but I didn’t have any say in it,” Tony said.

— “They were totally unprepared (for the crowd, which was estimated at 400,000).”

— “There was a guy being carried away. I don’t know what was wrong. They might have been carrying him to the first aid tent or to their campground.”

I was wondering …

How does someone from Indianapolis find out about a music festival in New York state? Maybe a magazine ad. I’ve seen those for Woodstock. Maybe a radio ad? If so, I haven’t found any. Tony doesn’t know how his sister might have learned about it.

“I don’t think they planned it too far ahead of time,” Tony said of his sister’s journey to Woodstock.

All these years later …

“We have the movie but not the record. We went to see the movie when it came out (in 1970). We didn’t see anything that was in the movie,” Tony said.

Tony didn’t see or hear much of Tim Hardin on that Friday night at Woodstock. He didn’t see any of him in the documentary film, either. Nor did he hear him on the original soundtrack. Hardin’s set didn’t make the cut for the film or the record.

So here’s some of what you couldn’t see or hear, my friend.

Though this is billed as “complete 1969 Woodstock recording of Tim Hardin,” it’s not. Here are the first, third, ninth and 10th songs from Hardin’s 10-song Woodstock set — “How Can We Hang On to a Dream,” “If I Were a Carpenter,” “Simple Song of Freedom” and “Misty Roses.”

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Filed under August 2019, Sounds

National anthem performances, ranked

On this Independence Day, a ranking of the top national anthem performances of all time. This is a highly subjective list. Yours likely will be different. That’s what makes America great.

1. Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, 1969. The national anthem as searing social commentary. A month later, he talked about it with Dick Cavett.

2. Marvin Gaye at the NBA All-Star Game, 1983. It was “groundbreaking,” Grantland wrote. It became “the players’ anthem,” sung by “the archbishop of swagger,” The Undefeated wrote. “You knew it was history, but it was also ‘hood,” said no less than Julius Erving, the mighty Dr. J himself.

3. Jose Feliciano at the World Series, 1968. Controversial at the time, it paved the way for Hendrix and everyone else who dared do the anthem a different way. Feliciano’s version came “before the nation was ready for it.” NPR wrote. It “infuriated America,” Deadspin wrote. Ever since, it has “given voice to immigrant pride,” Smithsonian magazine wrote.

4. Mo Cheeks helping a 13-year-old girl who forgot the lyrics, 2003. A beautiful moment of empathy and grace. “Treat people the right way. That’s all that is. It’s no secret. It’s no recipe to it,” the modest, humble Cheeks told the Oklahoman in 2009.

5. Whitney Houston at the Super Bowl, 1991. An epic performance at a time when America desperately wanted to wrap itself in the flag, ESPN wrote. Truth be told, this isn’t one of my favorites because it came at this time and in these circumstances, but it belongs in the top five.

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Filed under July 2019, Sounds

Taking stock of The Corporation

50 years ago, as January turned to February in the winter of 1969, a Milwaukee band was playing at Club Sahara, a popular place on the east side of Green Bay.

Lots of Milwaukee and Chicago bands made the rounds of Midwest clubs and roadhouses back then, and Club Sahara was one of those stops.

That week, that band was The Corporation. That week was quite a week for The Corporation, a six-piece group.

50 years ago this week, in the first week of February 1969, Capitol Records released The Corporation’s self-titled first album without the benefit of a single.

As The Corporation played Green Bay, some of the band members sat down with a writer from the local paper to talk about it all.

“Originality and experimentation are the marks of the 8-month-old group’s music. A high decibel count is also one of its telling points on stage,” my friend Warren Gerds wrote in his Night Beat column, trying to explain it all to the Green Bay Press-Gazette’s mostly older readers.

“The emphasis is on sound, loud and relying on complex harmonies. The music could be called electric jazz at certain points and underground at others.”

Uh, yeah, well …

“We don’t like to define our music in any special class. We’re not strictly an underground group. We like to appeal to everybody,” drummer Nick Kondos said.

“We just want to do our own thing,” bass player Ken Berdoll said.

Gerds continued …

“The Corporation is unique. That’s probably why Capitol, a record producer and song publisher, likes it. It slams out original songs, and when it does play other groups’ hits, the songs are altered to match its involved style. Not everyone will like the music of The Corporation. Guy Lombardo lovers would cringe at its way-out approach.”

Well, this was 1969. Conventional newspapers struggled to bridge the generation gap. My friend Warren, just a couple of years out of college, was assigned that thankless task.

The second side of “The Corporation” is taken up by one song, a cover of John Coltrane’s “India.” It’s an epic bit of psych and jazz rock, a trip that goes on for 19 minutes, 27 seconds.

“It’s a very free song,” Berdoll said.

“Because of this ‘freeness,’ The Corporation reaches for the hip in most songs,” Gerds wrote.

So dig the hip.

Here’s “India” by The Corporation, from “The Corporation,” 1969.

And here’s the entire album, released 50 years ago this week.

The band members, from left on the album cover: Danny Peil (vocals), Patrick McCarthy (organ and trombone), Gerard Smith (lead guitar and vocals), Ken Berdoll (bass and vocals), Nick Kondos (drums and vocals) and his brother John Kondos (guitar, flute, harp, piano and vocals).

Some accounts incorrectly identify The Corporation as a Detroit band. That’s because Detroit producer John Rhys heard them at a Milwaukee club and pitched them to Capitol Records, who signed them. “The Corporation” was recorded at Tera Shirma Studios in Detroit.

It was a regional hit, reaching No. 3 on the charts in Milwaukee in March 1969. However, it reached only No. 197 on the Billboard Hot LPs chart. Capitol also released “I Want To Get Out Of My Grave” b/w “Highway” as a single in 1969.

After that debut album, The Corporation had a falling-out with Capitol Records, which dropped them.

In 1970, the group released two more albums — “Get On Our Swing” and “Hassels In My Mind” — and a single on Age of Aquarius, a custom label pressed by Wisconsin’s Cuca Records. Not long after that, The Corporation dissolved.

(As always, a hat tip to Gary Myers for his indispensable research books on Wisconsin bands.)

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Filed under February 2019, Sounds

What I did on my summer vacation

Wait, I didn’t have a summer vacation. We moved our son to grad school in Ohio earlier this month. I saw a record store as we returned the U-Haul to Hamilton, Ohio, but we didn’t stop.

That said, I did manage to make a couple of record-digging excursions. We were in the Twin Cities on Fourth of July weekend, and a couple of weeks later, I made a swing through northern Illinois.

They turned out to be bittersweet trips.

My favorite record store in the Twin Cities was disappointing. Lots of records to look through, but it’s one of those places that’s increasingly mixing new vinyl with the used vinyl in the bins. Worst of all, the place smelled. Not that musty old record smell. No, it smelled of the pets that have the run of the place.

The good news is that I discovered a new favorite record store in the Twin Cities. My friend Todd, who runs one of our local indie record stores, tipped me to Mill City Sound in west suburban Hopkins. We’ve been going to the Twin Cities for almost 40 years, but had never been in this part of the area. Highly recommended, both for the record digging and for the small-town vibe of downtown Hopkins.

My $30 record-digging haul at Mill City Sound included the Beatles’ “Yellow Submarine” (yeah, a reissue, but you don’t see it often) and Sonny Curtis’ “Beatle Hits Flamenco Guitar Style” (which I’d never seen). I was so stoked to find those among the new arrivals that I forgot to circle back to grab another one I’d seen. So we returned two days later to get “Manufacturers of Soul” by Jackie Wilson and Count Basie, which was one of the records left behind on another record-digging trip two years ago.

My favorite record store in Rockford, Illinois, also was disappointing. Lots of records to look through, but one of those places that’s diversifying into new vinyl, used equipment and comic books. Worst of all, they seem to be mailing it in on the used vinyl. Bins jammed so full you couldn’t flip through them. No room in the bins? Just throw new arrivals on top, loose. Come on. Make an effort.

The good news is that I discovered a new favorite record store in Rockford. A decade ago, Culture Shock started out as a punk shop. It’s since matured into a place billed rather accurately as “half rock ‘n roll boutique and half record store.” Recommended on both counts, even if I didn’t find anything that day.

When I go record digging, whether on the road or here at home, I don’t have a wish list. But I do keep an eye out for early Bob Seger records, even though I have most of them.

Bob Seger was playing across town while I wrote this tonight. Zero interest in going because I know he never plays any of the great stuff from before the Silver Bullet days. So here’s one from the Bob Seger record I’ve never seen. Neither has my friend Dave, from whom I’ve been buying records since the ’80s.

“Noah,” from “Noah,” the Bob Seger System, 1969. It’s out of print.

More on this and some of Bob Seger’s other greatest hits in this post from 2011.

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Filed under August 2017, Sounds

Sundays at 8: Goodbye, Glen

My memories of Glen Campbell, who died yesterday at 81, come almost entirely from television. I think back to the earliest ’70s, and I see our family sitting together around the TV.

There was something for everyone on “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.” Comedy skits for Dad, country music for Grandma, folk and rock groups for me. That, in the fall of 1970, was our life. I pinpoint 1970 because that’s where the facts confirm the memory.

In the 1970-71 TV season, Glen Campbell’s show followed “The Ed Sullivan Show” on CBS on Sunday nights. That was appointment television. My grandfather died as that TV season began, so I’m certain we spent a few Sunday nights watching TV with Grandma, most likely during the holidays, when Sunday wasn’t a school night for a 13-year-old.

Here’s about 18 minutes that may give some idea of what that was like. His guests, ever so briefly, include the Smothers Brothers, John Hartford, Nancy Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Tom Jones, and Sonny and Cher.

However, television eventually gave way to the radio for me. Glen Campbell faded from my radio until the mid-’70s. His new songs? Too much corn.

Along the way, Glen Campbell became a train wreck. He’s almost unwatchable in a “Tonight Show” clip with Don Rickles and Dom DeLuise from September 1973. He’s jacked up on something, and even Johnny Carson acknowledges it. Then along came Tanya Tucker, and more drugs and alcohol, and Glen Campbell became tabloid fodder. Didn’t really think much about him for a long time.

Fast forward to the last decade. Fellow music bloggers have pointed the way to gems from Glen Campbell’s long career, helping me rediscover his greatness.

Then, in June 2011, came his Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Our family knows all too well what that means. You lose a loved one long before they go. We bought tickets for “The Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour” stop in Wausau, Wisconsin, in December 2011, but the show we’d hoped to see was postponed. He had laryngitis, it was said. We couldn’t make the rescheduled date.

Shortly thereafter, we had a second chance. The Goodbye Tour came back around, this time in Green Bay in June 2012. We passed. No regrets. We chose to remember a vibrant Glen Campbell instead of a 76-year-old man who was a year into an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.

You’ve heard all the hits again this week. So please enjoy these tunes, proof again of Glen Campbell’s gift for interpreting other people’s songs.

“Grow Old With Me,” Glen Campbell, from “Meet Glen Campbell,” 2008. A cover of one of John Lennon’s last songs. (Also available digitally.)

“Times Like These,” Glen Campbell, also from “Meet Glen Campbell,” 2008. The Foo Fighters never sounded so elegant.

“Wichita Lineman/By The Time I Get To Phoenix” the Dells, from “Love Is Blue,” 1969. The great Chicago soul group acknowledges Glen Campbell’s greatness at his peak. Only Glen Campbell can make the Dells sound rough by comparison.

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Filed under August 2017, Sounds