Country Rewind: Watch Glen Campbell Wow Hall of Famers With ‘Gentle On My Mind’ Guitar Solo

by Jim Casey

Glen Campbell is about to show you why he is considered one of the most talented guitar players in the history of country music.

Let’s hit pause for a few minutes today to appreciate a truly memorable country music performance from bygone days. In fact, let’s hit rewind so we can actually watch it.

Setting the Stage

In 1999, Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium played host to Ryman Country Homecoming. The star-studded show, which aired on TNN, featured a who’s who of country talent telling stories and performing songs. Among the 20-plus artists on stage that evening were Country Music Hall of Fame members Chet Atkins (1973), Willie Nelson (1993), Waylon Jennings (2001), Glen Campbell (2005), Roy Clark (2009), Ferlin Husky (2010), Bobby Bare (2013), and Ray Stevens (2019), as well as Crystal Gayle, Gene Watson, Lynn Anderson, Larry Gatlin, Lorrie Morgan, and more.

“Glen Campbell has more talent than anybody oughta have,” said co-host Bobby Bare as he introduced Glen. Truer words had never been spoken, and Glen was about to prove it.

‘Play One,’ Glen Campbell

Glen broke into a smooth rendition of his Grammy-winning hit, “Gentle on My Mind,” to the delight of his peers. Halfway through the song, Glen declared, “I’ll play one,” referring to a guitar break.

And “play one” he did.

Now, before you watch the clip, keep a few of things in mind. Roy Clark and Chet Atkins, who are center stage, are widely considered two of the greatest guitars player of all time. Their reactions are priceless, as are the wry smile of Willie Nelson and the exuberance of Gene Watson. Watch the delight in the stunning eyes of Crystal Gayle. Notice Ray Stevens as he inquisitively peeks over Glen’s shoulder.

Greatness was recognizing greatness.

Let’s watch Glen in action. Please, hold your applause until the end.

Wrecking Crew

Glen was a renowned singer, songwriter, and guitarist—not to mention actor and TV personality. He had an easy way with a song, conveying a wealth of emotion in just a single guitar lick. But before he made his mark in the late 1960s and 1970s with songs like “Gentle on My Mind,” “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman,” and “Rhinestone Cowboy,” Glen was an in-demand studio musician.

In the early 1960s, Glen was a member of the Wrecking Crew, a legendary group of session musicians who performed on albums by the Byrds, the Monkees, and the Beach Boys, among others. Glen could pull off a jazz riff as effortlessly as he could a country lick.

The man had mad guitar chops.