|Single by Glen Campbell|
|from the album Galveston|
|"How Come Every Time I Itch I Wind Up Scratchin' You"|
|Released||February 24, 1969|
|Recorded||May 27 and August 14, 1968|
Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California
|Glen Campbell singles chronology|
"Galveston" is a song written by Jimmy Webb and popularized by American country music singer Glen Campbell who recorded it with the instrumental backing of members of The Wrecking Crew. In 2003, this song ranked number 8 in CMT's 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music. Campbell's version of the song also went to number 1 on the country music charts. On other charts, "Galveston" went to number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the "Easy Listening" charts. It was certified gold by the RIAA in October 1969.
Campbell's recording of the song, released in 1969, was perceived as being a Vietnam War protest song, but Campbell performed it up-tempo, conveying a more general message. The protagonist is a soldier, as shown in the original promo video with Campbell dressed up in a military outfit. Webb described it as an anti-war song, and challenged Campbell's version of his song and the notion that it was in any way a "patriotic song". According to Webb, the song is "about a guy who's caught up in something he doesn't understand and would rather be somewhere else".
The song describes a soldier waiting to go into battle who thinks of the woman he loves and his hometown of Galveston, Texas. The song was originally sung by Don Ho, who introduced Glen Campbell to it when he appeared as a guest on Campbell's Goodtime Hour, and the second verse was originally transcribed:
"Wonder if she could forget me
"I'd go home if they would let me
"Put down this gun
"And go to Galveston."
However, in Campbell's version, this was changed to read:
"I still hear your sea waves crashing
"While I watch the cannons flashing
"I clean my gun
"And dream of Galveston."
Songwriter Jimmy Webb's melancholy ode to a simpler time exemplified what one might consider to be the "tonal protest song," replacing as it does more typical anti-war language with a reflection on the emotional uncertainty of war that even hawks in the heartland could identify with.