The Delray Beach record producer who brought Glen Campbell his 1975 smash hit “Rhinestone Cowboy” remembers the singer and musician as “gigglish, boyish, fun-loving, boisterous and upbeat and very sort of countryesque” — with a dash of “goofy.”
But once they got into the studio, it was all about being well-prepared and focused.
“His reading of that song, from the first take on, was so impeccably on the money,” said Dennis Lambert, 70. “When we got into the studio, it was like goosebump-time listening to him. I just loved every minute I spent working with him.”
Campbell died Tuesday. He was 81. He had announced he had Alzheimer's disease in 2011.
Lambert produced three albums with Campbell in the mid-’70s, including the chart-topper “Rhinestone Cowboy.”
Lambert and Campbell were brought together with the goal of getting Campbell “back on the radio” at a time when the singer’s career had “cooled off,” Lambert said.
Campbell wasn’t the first artist to record “Rhinestone Cowboy,” but he was the one who made it his own and took it to No. 1, Lambert said.
“It was like his life story, not that he ever walked the streets of New York,” Lambert said. “It just was the perfect life theme-song. It had the attributes that fit like a glove. He came to L.A. with those stars in his eyes. He understood the struggle that so many artists have … hoping to find a way to break through and get noticed.
“He made it his own by being Glen Campbell. If an artist is lucky enough to be associated with a song that comes like second nature, when you hear the song you think of them, that’s what ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ did for Glen.”
Lambert said Campbell spent his last few years in a facility for patients with Alzheimer’s disease. “For at least a couple of years he hasn’t really been up to seeing anybody.”
Lambert prepared Tuesday evening to post a Facebook tribute to his friend and collaborator.
“He just had that innate ability to express the sentiment and the deep meaning of a song, whatever it might have been about.”