Friday, June 14, 2024

Bruce Springsteen Found the New Jersey in “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Makes Songwriter Larry Weiss an Overnight Sensation after 45 Years


Bruce Springsteen has included a cover of Glen Campbell’s “Rhinestone Cowboy” on the soundtrack for his “Western Stars” documentary. His album, “Western Stars,” is the best of 2019, and creates a Campbell-like vibe. The Grammys had better reward him appropriately. (Don’t get me started.)

Ironically, “Rhinestone Cowboy” wasn’t written by Campbell or even Jimmy Webb. Its author is veteran songwriter Larry Weiss, who lives in Nashville but comes from, wait for it, Newark, New Jersey! Bruce could smell the Jersey in Weiss! Small world.

Larry Weiss wrote and recorded “Rhinestone Cowboy” in 1974. It wasn’t a hit but it was played on the radio in Los Angeles, where Campbell heard it and liked it. In ’75, the song went to the top of the charts. It was Campbell’s first big hit in five years and re-established him for good. Weiss had written a lot of other hits for pop groups, including “Bend Me Shape Me” for the American Breed.

Bruce’s rendition of “Cowboy” will send buckets of money to Weiss’s mailbox. It’s like winning the lottery. Maybe Jimmy Fallon will invite Weiss onto his show. He also wrote “Mr. Dream Merchant” for Jerry Butler, and the English hit “Hi Ho Silver Lining” for Jeff Beck.


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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