Glen Campbell & Leon Russell: Full Circle

Friday, 29 August 2014 03:43 PM Written by 

Leon Russell and Glen Campbell were both members of the loosely organized but legendary LA recording session group known as the Wrecking Crew, who worked on so many pop and rock hits during the 60's by the Beach Boys, Righteous Brothers, Sonny & Cher, Frank Sinatra, etc.. Russell played (mostly) piano. Campbell specialized on guitar and could play most other stringed instruments.

He was focused mostly on studio work and making some records of his own for Capitol, but he was a couple years away from becoming a hit vocalist in his own right. Russell had plenty to do in the studios, but also played in the Shindogs, the house band on the ABC TV rock show Shindig! Hosted by former Pittsburgh DJ Jimmy O'Neill.  Other well-known musicians in that band included Delaney Bramlett (of Delaney & Bonnie fame) and guitar icon icon James Burton. 

Campbell was a frequent guest performer, usually singing rock songs.  This first performance was an exception.

February 3, 1965: they join forces on the show for a medley of two country hits: Russell doing "Jambalaya" and Campbell, five-string banjo rolling along, doing the country favorite "Truck Driving Man." Russell is clearly in Jerry Lee Lewis mode; less than a decade later, he was a rock icon in his own right and in 1972 recorded "Jambalaya" on his country album Hank Wilson's Back.

1983: Nearly 18 years later, both of them major stars, they reunite to perform the same song on the Canadian TV program In Session.

On the same program, they sang another song both knew well: The Righteous Brothers' 1964 hit "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," produced by Phil Spector and one of his "Wall of Sound" classics. Campbell played guitar on the original single; Russell was the pianist.



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