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.