Songfacts®: You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.
This was written by songwriter Jimmy Webb, who also wrote Campbell's hits "By the Time I Get to Phoenix
" and "Wichita Lineman
." Webb also wrote "MacArthur Park
," which was a hit for both Richard Harris and Donna Summer, and "Up-Up and Away," which was recorded by The 5th Dimension.
When we spoke with Jimmy Webb
in 2011, he said: "Glen was very, very good at commercializing my songs. He could come up with great intros and great solos, great breaks, and he wrote perfect strings, because he wrote very little. It was a minimalist approach and it just left Glen out there with the song and the guitar. I tended to write a little bit more as an arranger, and probably too much. So I could have done better to have stayed out of Glen's way, I think."
Galveston is a city on the coast of Texas that attracts lots of hurricanes. Webb was on a beach in Galveston when he wrote this. He made up the story about a soldier in the Spanish-American war and the girl he left behind. Most songwriters never find themselves in places like Galveston or Wichita, but Webb found inspiration in the people he encountered in these places.
The Vietnam War was going on when Campbell released this. It was considered an antiwar song.
The Hawaiian singer Don Ho was the first to record this song, releasing it as the B-side of his single "Has Anybody Lost A Love?" in 1968. Ho recalled that when he appeared on Campbell's show The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour in 1969, he gave Campbell a copy of the single and told him, "I didn't have any luck with this, maybe you will."
Little Richard, who speaks his mind and doesn't hand out praise lightly, said of this song: "When Glen Campbell says one word 'Galveston' - it shakes me up. It takes me, man, that's the whole soul of it right there."
This made the CMT Top Ten list of all-time great country music songs. (thanks, Charles - Charlotte, NC)
David Nail covered this for his 2014 I'm a Fire
album. "Him being a huge hero of mine, it was very important for me to show that I had such a fondness for him," Nail explained to Taste of Country
of his connection to Campbell. "I made a little elementary school note 'check yes or no' and just listened to the songs and held it up to my producer Frank Liddell, knowing full well that he would most likely pick 'Galveston.'"
Nail turned the song into a duet with Lee Ann Womack. The songbird is married to Liddell, and he was able to get her to join Nail for its recording. "My wife is a huge Glen Campbell fan, so she came and sang on it," said Liddell. "I think it's one of the most beautiful things on the record."
Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets
The (Meat)puppetmaster takes us through songs like "Lake Of Fire" and "Backwater," and talks about performing with Kurt Cobain on MTV Unplugged
Billy Steinberg - "Like A Virgin"
The first of Billy's five #1 hits was the song that propelled Madonna to stardom. You'd think that would get you a backstage pass, wouldn't you?
A band so baffling, even their names were contrived. Check your score in the Ramones version of Fact or Fiction.
This Kentucky singer/songwriter's hits include "She Couldn't Change Me" (recorded by Montgomery Gentry) and "It Ain't Easy Being Me."