|Single by Glen Campbell|
|from the album Rhinestone Cowboy|
|Released||May 26, 1975|
|Dennis Lambert, Brian Potter|
|Glen Campbell singles chronology|
"Rhinestone Cowboy" is a song written by Larry Weiss and most famously recorded by American country music singer Glen Campbell. The song enjoyed huge popularity with both country and pop audiences when it was released in 1975.
Weiss wrote and recorded "Rhinestone Cowboy" in 1974, and it appeared on his 20th Century Records album Black and Blue Suite. It did not, however, have much of a commercial impact as a single. In late 1974, Campbell heard the song on the radio, and during a tour of Australia, decided to learn the song. Soon after his return to the United States, Campbell went to Al Coury's office at Capitol Records, where he was approached about "a great new song" -- "Rhinestone Cowboy".
Several music writers noted that Campbell identified with the subject matter of "Rhinestone Cowboy" -- survival and making it, particularly when the chips are down -- very strongly. As Steven Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic put it, the song is about a veteran artist "who's aware that he's more than paid his dues during his career ... but is still surviving, and someday, he'll shine just like a rhinestone cowboy."
Released in May 1975, "Rhinestone Cowboy" immediately caught on with both country and pop audiences. The song spent that summer climbing both the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Billboard Hot 100 charts before peaking at number one by season's end - three nonconsecutive weeks on the country chart, two weeks on the Hot 100. Billboard ranked it as the number-two for 1975. It also went topped the charts in Canada and several other countries.
During the week of September 13 -- the week the song returned to number one on the Billboard country chart, after having been nudged out for a week by "Feelins'" by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn -- "Rhinestone Cowboy" topped both the country and Hot 100 charts simultaneously. This was the first time a song had accomplished the feat since November 1961, when "Big Bad John" by Jimmy Dean did so.
"Rhinestone Cowboy" was one of six songs released in 1975 that topped both the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot Country Singles charts. The other songs were "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" by Freddy Fender, "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" by B. J. Thomas, "Thank God I'm a Country Boy" and "I'm Sorry"/"Calypso," both by John Denver, and "Convoy" by C. W. McCall.
The song was also the sole Glen Campbell track in a promotional-only compilation album issued by Capitol records titled The Greatest Music Ever Sold (Capitol SPRO-8511/8512), that was distributed to record stores during the 1976 holiday season as part of Capitol's "Greatest Music Ever Sold" campaign, which promoted 15 "Best Of" albums released by the record label.
After Glen Campbell died in August 2017, "Rhinestone Cowboy" charted in Country Digital Song chart at No. 12. The song has sold a total of 368,000 downloads in the digital era in the United States as of August 2017.
Glen Campbell recorded a new version of the song in 2013 on his final studio album titled, See You There.
The song became one of Glen Campbell's signature songs and won numerous awards from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, and American Music Awards. It also obtained nominations for a Grammy Award for Best Country Song as well as for Record of the Year, but did not win.
"Rhinestone Cowboy" along with several other Glen Campbell tracks was used in War on Everyone (2016)
The American country singer Slim Whitman covered the song in 1976 on his Red River Valley album. Also in 1976, Canadian comedian Nestor Pistor recorded a parody version, "Winestoned Plowboy", which was itself a modest hit on Canada's country music charts in 1977.
Johnny Carson performed a comedic cover version to open the March 4, 1976 broadcast of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The episode was released on DVD in 2016 along with other episodes from that particular week, with Carson referencing his preparations for the performance and Doc Severinsen and the NBC Orchestra performing instrumental versions of the song each night. After his performance, Carson announced that songwriter Larry Weiss was in the audience, a fact he claimed to be unaware of when he sang it a few minutes earlier.
Belgian singer Claire recorded the song in 1975 as "Vreemde Vogels" ("Strange Birds") and had a hit with her version in Flanders. It made it to number 14 on the Ultratop Flanders chart, staying in the chart for 5 weeks. It also made it to number 2 on the Vlaamse Top 10 chart.
The song was covered in 1976 in French as "Je m'appelle Michèle" interpreted as an autobiographical piece by French singer Michèle Torr. In 1978, and with lyrics more in line with the English original lyrics, it was recorded as "Cowgirl dorée" by the Canadian French singer Renée Martel. The French lyrics of Martel's version were written by Robert Charlebois.
In 2002, the British duo Rikki & Daz (made up of Daz Sampson and Ricardo Autobahn (real name John Matthews) released a revamped version of the song with additional lyrics and music plus arrangement from the original. Titled "Rhinestone Cowboy (Giddy Up Giddy Up), the single actually features Glen Campbell singing in the refrain. A music video was also released including Campbell.