During his concert last Thursday at the Giant Center in Pennsylvania, country music artist Chris Stapleton paid tribute to his music heroic Glen Campbell by singing Campbell's signature hit "Rhinestone Cowboy." He performed "Rhinestone Cowboy" solo with his guitar and the crowd's accompaniment, singing along the chorus with its famous title line. Campbell passed away on Aug. 8 after a long struggle with Alzheimer's disease.
"I'm going to try to do a Glen Campbell song tonight. Not because I'm going to do a great job of it, but just because I want to pay my respects to Mr. Campbell," Stapleton said. A simple "Thank You" ended the song, as the lights went out on stage.
Larry Weiss wrote and first 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."