Country Throwback: Glen Campbell Crushes Bagpipe Solo During ‘Amazing Grace’ Performance

by Suzanne Halliburton

Remember that time Glen Campbell took us to church by singing a soul-stirring rendition of “Amazing Grace.” And then between verses, he played the bagpipes?

It was back in 2001 when Campbell performed with the South Dakota Symphony for a PBS special. Glen Campbell played all his best-loved songs, from “Galveston” to Rhinestone Cowboy” to “Wichita Lineman.

He even joked to the crowd “boy, is there no beginning to this man’s talent.”

Let’s change that. There was no end to Campbell’s talents. It all was on display for this intimate evening with the country superstar. But the Glen Campbell show stopper was the classic hymn, “Amazing Grace.” You hear the hymn at funerals or at Easter services. The song, with lyrics written by English poet and clergyman John Newton, was first published in 1779.

The hymn is so uplifting for Christians because it speaks to salvation. “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost, but now I’m found, was blind, but now I see.”

You may also hear musicians play the song on the bagpipes. Here’s a fun fact. Those instruments were around as far back as 1000 B.C. Scotland claims the bagpipes as its national instrument. However, they’re all over the world.

But how many times have you ever heard someone sing “Amazing Grace,” rolling through the beginning of the song, then hitting the high notes at the crescendo? And then between verses, play the bagpipes? Glen Campbell did it. Check out this clip.

Glen Campbell First Showed Off His Bagpipe Skills in London

This wasn’t the first time Glen Campbell played bagpipes for audiences. Campbell, in fact, played several instruments. He was an excellent guitar player. He also charmed audiences with his banjo picking.

The first time he trotted out the bagpipes in front of a big audience was in 1973 when he appeared on a BBC show in London. Wearing a golden suit, Campbell also sang “Amazing Grace” for the Brits. Then he bowed his head in appreciation and walked off the stage. End of the performance, right? Nope. Campbell returned with the bagpipes.

Campbell also showed off his bagpipe skills during a performance in 1981 in Ireland.

He was a true showman and entertainer. Campbell sold more than 45 million records during his career that spanned more than a half-century. He had 80 songs that placed on either the country, adult contemporary or the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

The Grammys honored Glen Campbell with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012.

Campbell also dabbled in movies. He played La Boeuf in “True Grit” alongside John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn in 1969. And Glenn Campbell also sang the theme song to the movie. He received a Golden Globes nomination for most promising newcomer. His “True Grit” theme song earned an Academy Award nomination.

Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010. Three of his children then joined Campbell on a final goodbye tour. He recorded his final song in 2013. Campbell died in August 2017, and the family released his last few songs in 2018.

We miss Glen Campbell and his immense talent. We miss his “Amazing Grace” moments.