Glen Campbell played in Milwaukee this past weekend as part of his farewell tour. I was sorry to have missed it.
Long before I knew Campbell had serious cred via his membership in "The Wrecking Crew" band of studio musicians – among other things – I knew Campbell from hearing his Top 40 hits waft over into the back seat of the family station wagon from the speakers of the AM radio.
Campbell was a player in a major moment of my musical life. Just as I was about to really get into rock and roll in a big way, via the Beatles and KISS and Led Zeppelin and Stevie Wonder, I got my first album. Before that I was a singles kid, obsessed with spinning 45s on my Dansette-style portable player.
But when my family came to Milwaukee in '75 to spend a Christmas with my grandparents, I got the first long-player of my own (previous LPs I checked out belonged to my parents): Glen Campbell's "Rhinestone Cowboy."
I remember the embossed cover and, of course, the hit song. I don't remember much of anything else about it, though I do remember opening the cabinet doors and sliding the ancient turntable out at my grandparents house to play the record for the first time. I suspect my mom even has a photo of it somewhere.
Although Campbell reportedly played "Rhinestone Cowboy" at The Pabst on Saturday, I wasn't able to get video of it. Instead, I bid a fond adieu to the Rhinestone Cowboy, as he rides off into the sunset, with this clip of him performing "I Can't Stop Loving You."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.