Monday, November 17, 2014

Glen Campbell


 Glen Campbell is an interesting and unique figure in the Vietnam War era because his statements and his recordings were quite contradictory.  It is difficult to say whether Campbell believed in the sentiments of both “Universal Soldier,” (released in late 1965) a song written by Buffy Sainte Marie in direct response to witnessing wounded soldiers return from Vietnam, and “Galveston,” (released in 1969) a song written by Jimmy Webb as a tribute to a Spanish-American War soldier and the love he left behind.  It would seem from these recordings that Campbell was clearly an anti-war advocate, but he was quoted as saying, “If you don’t have enough guts to fight for your country, you’re not a man.”  If this is the case, Campbell’s anti-war sentiments become fuzzy at best.  Campbell advocates commitment to military action in order to protect America while denouncing anti-war advocates, after releasing two songs that were considered anti-war offerings.  So which camp did Campbell’s sentiments lie?  It is possible that Campbell simply changed his mind.  It is also possible that Campbell released both songs without realizing the anti-war implications of either.  It is yet further possible that Campbell simply recorded songs that were expected to sell, making profit the defining factor in Campbell’s motivations.  This is most likely the answer to the question of Campbell’s motivations for releasing anti-war songs, then denouncing anti-war protesters and draft dodgers.  The truth is, we will never know Campbell’s inner-most thoughts on the Vietnam War because, other than the statement denouncing draft-dodging, Campbell never really indicated his position on the Vietnam War.

1 comment: