Elvis Weekend will officially kick off in Memphis this Saturday. Originally, I planned to sit down and pen a piece about the legendary king of rock and roll. Then, the unexpected happened. The passing of yet another music legend, singer and guitar player extraordinaire Glen Campbell, occurred Tuesday. So, I shifted gears and changed course.

Elvis Weekend will officially kick off in Memphis this Saturday. Originally, I planned to sit down and pen a piece about the legendary king of rock and roll. Then, the unexpected happened. The passing of yet another music legend, singer and guitar player extraordinaire Glen Campbell, occurred Tuesday. So, I shifted gears and changed course.

Frankly, I have more fond memories of Glen than I do Elvis. I was a tad young when “The King” was at the peak of his popularity. He belonged more to my brother's generation, who is a full six years older than me. Maybe we'll talk about Elvis next week.

I don't exactly remember when I actually became a Glen Campbell fan. Probably after his TV variety hour became a Sunday night staple in our living room. I was also fascinated by the fact that he was the product of Delight, Arkansas. I primarily watched the show because in those days Dad had control of the set and wouldn't let me watch Bonanza. However, I got interested because his guests included some of my generation of musicians and rock performers such as Linda Rondstadt, The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Three Dog Night, Stevie Wonder and a video clip of The Beatles. I was sold.

Naturally, during the course of the program you simply couldn't help but get hooked on Campbell's performances both as a vocalist and a guitarist. Soon, I was buying Mr. Campbell's LPs including “Gentle on My Mind” and “Wichita Lineman.”

It was difficult to put Glen in any particular musical category. He was equally adept at playing pop, rock or country and his songs scored on all of the charts. Outside Patsy Cline, he was probably among the pioneers as a crossover artist. County and pop fans alike bought “Gentle on My Mind” as well as “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” and “Wichita Lineman.”

Some of his songs such as “Try a Little Kindness” and “Galveston” dealt with social relevance – the later dealing with the controversial Vietnam War.

Before he became a popular entertainer in his own right, Glen was a very in-demand session musician. As a member of the famous Wrecking Crew, he played guitar for such artists as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. Before The Monkees were permitted to perform on their albums Glen played lead guitar on a number of their tunes. He also spent a summer touring as a Beach Boy and performed on some of that famous band's recordings.

He had a distinctive guitar sound but nothing he played ever sounded like a repeat of a previous performance.

My mom and my next-door mom were both huge Glen Campbell fans. Way back in the late 60s we were able to get tickets to his performance at the Mid-South Coliseum in Memphis. It was a Sunday afternoon concert scheduled for about 2 p.m. Around 2:30 p.m. it was announced that Glen had not yet arrived. So the group that was scheduled to be his backup band began to play. The audience got a little restless.

It was probably 3:30 or 4 p.m. before Glen arrived but the show went on. A gracious Glen Campbell apologized several times but did not shorten his performance. Blessed with a great sense of humor, one of his guitar strings abruptly broke while tuning for his next song.

“Oops, I broke my G-string,” he quipped, promptly replaced it and proceeded to play the next tune.

It was almost 20 years later before I saw Glen perform live again. This time it was the rodeo arena in Fort Smith. He was on the same card with Kenny Rogers. The highlight of the evening was Glen performing a solo of the hymn “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.

A product of a hard-working, Depression-era Arkansas farm family, Glen Campbell was truly gifted and talented man. His legacy will forever live on in CDs. His music will never be forgotten.

Here's to you “Rhinestone Cowboy.”