Glen Campbell and me: Our first memories of music

I can still picture the herringbone interior of my parents’ gold station wagon. Looking through the eyes of toddler me buckled into the backseat, I was singing country legend Glen Campbell’s hit “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

That was the start of my love affair with music. I sang it everywhere I went. 

“What’s your first memory of music?” That was the first question I asked Campbell in an interview done during his retirement tour last year. 

“The first music I remember was in the Church of Christ, where they didn’t allow musical instruments. The congregation sang alone. My dad and mom took all of us to church and we sat together in one row. I first learned to sing harmony inside that country sanctuary,” said Campbell. “I had heard about a black church a few miles away in which the members sang fast music with heavy rhythms. I would hike over there, stand outside the window, rise on my bare tiptoes, and peek inside at the black folks rolling on the floor and running in the aisles. They were thoroughly caught up in the spirit and the music. It was my first experience of seeing how moving music could be to people. I had never seen so much unleashed passion and I hungered to be around the rhythm and music that I felt as much as heard coming from that impoverished clapboard church.” 

It was just the kind of answer I was hoping for! 

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