The great pop breakthrough year in the career of Glen Campbell was 1967, when “Gentle On My Mind” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” established him as a vocal craftsman of rare distinction. The man from Delight, Arkansas had, of course, been a noted and in-demand guitarist for many years by then, and made some interesting chart appearances, including one as a featured singer on a country single as early as 1962. But on December 10, 1966, Campbell entered the country singles countdown as a solo artist for the very first time.
The song in question, on his longtime home of Capitol, was “Burning Bridges,” which debuted on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles on that date and made its way to No.18, in a 13-week run. The recording was a cover of a song that had gone to No.3 on the US pop chart for Canadian rock’n’roll balladeer Jack Scott back in 1960.
Glen had reached No.20 on the country chart with the late 1962 entry “Kentucky Means Paradise,” credited to the Green River Boys featuring Glen Campbell. But by the mid-1960s, until he established himself with simultaneous country and pop hits, he really had separate audiences in the two genres, with various singles that made the Hot 100 but not the C&W list, or the other way around.
In 1965, for example, he came close to a Top 40 pop single with his version of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s protest song “The Universal Soldier,” but there was no sign of that on the country survey. “Burning Bridges,” for its part, didn’t crack the Hot 100, and nor did the follow-up “I Gotta Have My Baby Back.”
Then came the era of Glen Campbell the multi-format star, with releases that appealed to admirers of both formats. But the unmistakeable voice, accompanied by lush strings and country piano, are already there to enjoy on “Burning Bridges.”
Buy or stream “Burning Bridges” on the album of the same name.