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‘The Highwayman’ Could Well Have Been A Glen Campbell Smash Hit

The country music classic ‘The Highwayman’ could have been a Glen Campbell mega-hit, another in a long line of Campbell smashes alongside ‘Galveston’, ‘Wichita Lineman’ ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ and….well, so many more.

But Glen’s record label at the time, Capital, decided that no, they wouldn’t release it as a single.

Not the smartest of moves.

‘The Highwayman’ was written by one of the greatest songwriter’s in music history (and not just country), Jimmy Webb.  Webb wrote so many Glen Campbell classics that they almost seemed like brothers.

When Campbell realized it wouldn’t be his single, he played it for Johnny Cash.  In the meanwhile, Jimmy Webb played the song for Waylon Jennings.

Getting the drift here?

It was while Johnny, Waylon, along with Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson were doing a television special together in Switzerland (yes, that country music hotbed Switzerland!) that the 4 thought…’Let’s do a project together’.

And so the Highwaymen were born…and ‘The Highwayman’ became a country music smash hit….and now an all-time country classic.

Released in May of 1985, the song spend some 20 weeks on the country chart, peaking at #1 in August of that year, replacing Hank Williams Jr.‘s ‘I’m For Love’.

And by the way, this single that Capital Records didn’t let Glen Campbell release as a single?  Well, it earned Jimmy Webb a 1985 Grammy for ‘Best Country Song’.

 

 

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