A Friendly Rivalry with Glen Campbell
"Glen Campbell and I appeared on the same show early in both our careers - it was KPIX Dance Party, on Channel 5 out of San Francisco and hosted by Dick Stewart (who later recorded Al's "Counting the Pieces" HEAR and "The In-Between Years" HEAR on Ava Records). Although we didn't play together - I only heard him practicing his guitar - we both asked out the same girl who worked at the station. It was a friendly competition and, as I recall, we both struck out.
Glen and Al were performing live at the KPIX television station for the San Francisco Bay area. Al was promoting his first solo record, "The Force of Love".
"It was the first time I ever sang alone on T.V. and I'm pretty sure it was Glen's first time on television. I guess we were both kind of nervous, so our little rivalry with the girl probably served as a distraction for us."
"At the time, I didn't know Glen was a singer, but when I saw his fingers fly over the guitar strings, I was amazed at his talent as a musician. I did my performance first and left right afterward, so I didn't hear him sing that day. At the time I was thinking more about my own performance and wasn't concerned about anything else."
Although Al had appeared many times before an audience, he always had a piano or guitar to occupy his hands, or he was performing with his group, The Galaxies.
"This was the first time I stood on stage by myself, lip-syncing to the record. Lip-syncing the song didn't bother me so much as worrying about looking professional with my body language. I never even practiced my physical performance and just hoped it would all work out. I had a tendency to do things impulsively in those days, without rehearsing, which wasn't always a good idea."
"I felt everything went well at the Dance Party Show but couldn't be sure. I said a quick goodbye to Glen after doing my thing and then flew out of there. My sister lived in San Francisco with her children so I called them from the nearest phone booth to find out how I did. They were excited about seeing me on T.V. and complimented me on my performance. That meant a lot to me, since her kids really liked my song and their age group represented the main Top 40 audience."
Back in Los Angeles, Al made it a point to get in touch with Glen and asked him to play on his next recording. Glen was becoming popular among the local record producers as a first-class studio musician, so Al was glad they had a personal relationship.
"Glen was at his best when asked to do 'fills' for a record. He did things on the guitar no arranger could write. The notes would just come to him as he played and each time I did another take, he would play it differently. A good example of Glen's fills can be heard on "Yo, Yo," found in my Discography page. Another good example on the Discography is his guitar break for "Chopsticks."
"Glen and I never became close friends, but we were friendly whenever we saw each other. We often laughed and teased each other about hitting on that girl in San Francisco and we wondered what happened to her."
"It was probably a year later, while I was walking down the hallway at Gold Star Studios, that I heard this great voice coming out of a speaker. I peeked into the studio and almost passed out - there was my 'guitar player' singing his ass off. I don't remember the song, but it was probably his first hit!"