On This Day: Glen Campbell Makes Debut Appearance With the Beach Boys in 1964

by Atlanta Northcutt
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Glen Campbell is an iconic performer, as he was one of the first musicians to crossover into all forms of entertainment, and joining the pop group the Beach Boys.

Before becoming a famous country and pop musician, TV show host, actor, and overall entertainment celebrity, Campbell performed with the famous Beach Boys.

How Glen Campbell Joined the Beach Boys

Glen Campbell was the guitarist on the Beach Boys’ acclaimed album Pet Sounds. The record is the group’s most famous album, sending the Beach Boys soaring to infamy.

Band member and the main brains behind Pet Sounds was Brian Wilson. He began canceling shows due to his rapidly declining state of mind.

“I felt I had no choice,” Wilson said. “I was so mixed up and so overworked.”

He devoted countless hours to the album, becoming enraged when the band wasn’t living up to his high expectations. Wilson demanded perfection until he spiraled out of control, leading to a nervous breakdown.

“I was run down mentally and emotionally because I was running around, jumping on jets from one city to another one-night stands, also producing, writing, arranging, singing, planning, teaching,” he continues. “I got to the point where I had no peace of mind and no chance to actually sit down and think or even rest.”

56 Years Ago Today He Made His Big Debut

With all of Glenn Campbell’s talents, he was a perfect fit to play bass and use his falsetto voice for backup vocals while Wilson was absent. Glen officially debuted as part of the Beach Boys on Dec. 24, 1964. The performance took place 56 years ago today at the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, TX.

“I filled in for Brian for a few dates in Dallas and Houston,” Campbell recalls in the book The Beach Boys: The Definitive Diary of America’s Greatest Band on Stage and in the Studio. “Mike [Love] and Carl [Wilson] called me on a Wednesday and said, ‘Glen, can you be here tomorrow? You gotta play bass and do Brian’s part.’ I said, ‘Sure.’ I had been doing their sessions, so I could easily fill in.”

Since Wilson was unable to tour, Campbell was on the road with the Beach Boys from December of 1964 to March of 1965.

Campbell had just released his third album, and the Beach Boys had topped the charts for the first time with a No. 1 hit. They all were at the beginning of their careers. Like Wilson, Glen and the band pushed themselves to the extreme in order to achieve fame.

“The only problem was, I didn’t know all the words to the songs. They’d be singing ‘Pasadena,’ and I’d be singing something else,” Campbell says. “I didn’t know what I was saying. But the screams were so loud from the girls, you’d walk onstage and you couldn’t hear a thing anyway.”

Glen Campbell Leaves the Beach Boys to Become a Solo Performer

The band members officially asked Glen to join the band. However, he turned down the offer. Glen performed his last show with Beach Boys at the Washington Coliseum in Washington, DC, on April 25, 1965. Bruce Johnston officially replaced Campbell and Wilson as a member of the Beach Boys’ live shows.

However, it appears Glen made the right choice as his acclaimed solo career took off.

By 1967, Glen Campell was on both country and pop charts. His most renowned song is “Rhinestone Cowboy” which became a well-known hit.

He released hit after hit, such as “Wichita Linemen” and “Gentle on My Mind,” along with many more. After conquering the music industry, Glen Campbell became a TV show host in the early ’70s. He then acted with John Wayne in the film True Grit. He became a star in the entertainment industry and is still acclaimed for his many talents.

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