Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

As a young kid, we didn’t have smartphones that played our favorite music, nor Apple AirPods or wireless headphones. We had nothing like that. In fact, my music choices were rather limited. I had to listen to whatever my mom had on the radio, when we went for a drive, or the singers and musicians who appeared on the 1970s variety shows that seemed to dot the Prime-Time Television landscape.

Oh sure, my brothers had an old record player that they occasionally played and would later have eight-track players, but when I was an elementary school-aged kid, my choices were slim pickings. To make matters worse, most of what I heard I didn’t understand. The songs talked of broken love and rundown trucks and grooving and swaying to the music.

One day out of nowhere, though, the radio DJ played a song that talked about cowboys. I loved cowboys and dreamed of having my own horse and riding through the country, especially when my mother yelled for me to come inside to eat and get a bath. The cowboys I saw on TV never had to worry about getting yelled at by their mothers. I was hooked. I had a new favorite song.

Now, I had no idea what a Rhinestone Cowboy was, I couldn’t have picked out a Rhinestone from a Ruby from a Diamond, but I figured it couldn’t be all that bad.

Falling in love with a song

Despite it all, I fell in love with Glen Campbell’s 1975 hit song Rhinestone Cowboy. I remember running around our house singing “like a Rhinestone cowboy” on a rotating loop. I mumbled the next few lines, because I couldn’t remember the words, but the rhyming and rolling nature of the song drew me in to the story.

Yes, I had to be the most annoying kid in the world, but that didn’t stop me.

“There’s been a load of compromisin’
On the road to my horizon
But I’m gonna be where the lights are shinin’ on me.

Like a rhinestone cowboy
Riding out on a horse in a star-spangled rodeo
Like a rhinestone cowboy
Getting cards and letters from people I don’t even know
And offers comin’ over the phone.”

The song caught on with both country and pop audiences and spent the summer of ’75 climbing the charts. Billboard ranked it as the number 2 for the year. It also topped the charts in Canada and several other countries.

In my house, though, the song had definitely run its course. My brothers threatened to punch me if I kept it up. They were tired of my constant blather. Fortunately for my own health, I got the message to stop bothering them.

Image by Pexels.

Seeing where the interest goes

My parents listened to lots of twangy country music, which I absolutely hated, but a few months later my middle brother played The Bay City Rollers on his record player and it sounded pretty good. I had no money to buy records, I was still rather young, but I remember thinking that S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night! S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night! S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y night sounded pretty fun.

I came to like Bye, bye, baby too, but since it was his record and his record player, I only got to listen to it, when he felt in the mood. Oh the joys of music.

I can’t say that I’ve listened to Glen Campbell or the Bay City Rollers in a long time. As I got older, my musical tastes have gone in different, more refined directions, if I do say so myself, but I’m still grateful that they introduced me to a whole new world. Now if only I had some Glen Campbell or Bay City Rollers merchandise from back in the day, now we would be talking!


This is the fourth in a series this week on the ways music touches our lives. Let me know the first record or single that you liked and what you think of the series.

29 thoughts on “Like a Rhinestone Cowboy

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  1. Lol. I suspect we may be of similar ages. I think the Bay City Rollers were one of the first groups that really caught my attention. I would have been about 8 or 9. I remember the music, not so much the band. But I do remember it was the time my dad left (was kicked out of the navy) and as we were moving I was given a compilation album of covers … with Bye bye Baby on it by a family friend as it was also my birthday. Thanks for the memories, Brian xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh wow! You bring up a great point, I can never think of band names, but I associate songs with memories and where I was at the time. I think of Phil Collins and I think of a girlfriend in college. She wasn’t a fan of his, but when we broke up, he was all over the radio. I can’t listen to Led Zeppelin or Pink Floyd or Guns N’ Roses and not think of college roommates. Hope your memories are happy ones! Thanks for commenting!😎😎😎

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Certainly are a lot of happy ones. It’s also amazing how the same song means such divergent things to different people. Dexy’s Midnight Runners, Come on Eileen reminds me of college discos whereas for my husband, they’re not happy memories and won’t listen to it … while I want to dance 💃

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, I know what you mean. Same song, different meanings, different experiences. My son is always surprised to hear that I was never a big Nirvana fan. I don’t hear the music, I remember instead, one of my first jobs and a tough boss who made life hard. I associate it with the song because one of my coworkers played it all the time in the office. It’s strange but I associate the two! Funny how that works.


      3. Lol. At one time I worked in for a law firm. Our Department Partner was unimpressed when we said our departmental theme song was Road to.Nowhere .. I still love Talking Heads

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I loved both those songs 🙂 My very favourite Glen Campbell song was (and still is) Wichita Lineman. It still fills me. My very first ‘45 (yes, I am that old) was ‘The Monster Mash’ 🙄 My tastes in music had improved by the time I bought my first album: Wings: Band on the Run. I loved every song on the album and any one of those songs takes me right back to the summer I turned 11 🙂💕 I am greatly enjoying this series of posts, Brian 🙂💕🙏

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh my goodness….Patti and Brian…I love all of this…Wichita Lineman is so beautiful and Rhinestone Cowboy…those tunes just make me happy! And Patti — our love of “Band on the Run”? Oh yes….takes me back…same as you. Sweet times in my life! 😎😎😎

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Oh I remember 45s! We had them. Wish I still did. My son just bought a record player, would love to play them. Wings! What a great album. Still stands the test of time. I’m glad you’re liking the series. I still don’t think I’m the best to write about it because my breadth of music is so small, but it’s interesting seeing what others liked and how they can relate! I have to think about what series I take on next. Need something that touches most folks. Thanks for reading/commenting!!!!😊😊😊😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think the only thing one needs when writing about music is a love of music. And you clearly have that in spades 🙂 I’m not coming up with any great ideas for your series – I’m in a bit of a slump myself 😬😬😬 I’ll let you know if I get any brilliant ideas though…

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  3. I found myself singing inside my head as my eyes traveled over the lyrics of “Rhinestone Cowboy”. So many songs that have left my consciousness but bring me back to a place and time in life when I hear them again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Now I have “Rhinestone Cowboy” going through my head. Don’t laugh but the first album I bought was The Partridge Family. I had a funky record player and drove my family batty playing that album…songs about love didn’t bother me!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can’t make fun of the Partridge family. They were the “it” thing back in the day! The only person I ever tease about music is my wife. When I first met her she played Milli Vanilli for me. A few weeks later they were caught for lip syncing their music. When she makes fun of my horrible horrible singing, I say at least it’s really me! 🤣🤣🤣🤣

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  5. So many memories of songs/artists I haven’t thought of since my teens. I realize with this post today, that even if I was listening (and liking) a lot of different sounds I seem to have focused much more on the hard driving rock bands. Your reminders of what else was happening means that I get to add even more songs to my Spotify favorites…now that I remember I like them! Thanks 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like the depth of my music appreciation is pretty limited but it does spread across genres. I guess that’s my limited attention. I tend yo start with rock and then spread out from there. I do love the ability now to sample other genres to see what else I might like. I know next to nothing about classical but I’ve learned that I don’t hate it like I thought.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my gosh Brian, I can just imagine you running around the house singing Rhinestone Cowboy! Look honey, I was a Rhinestone Cowgirl, so don’t feel bad. I crossed many genres and loved them whether R&B, Rock n Roll, Disco, Country, Easy listening and even classical. I think that makes you musically well-rounded my friend. 🤠💎🐴

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh my friend, when I can remember the special words to a song because I can actually understand them, I think we are good and in good company too! LOL Enjoy the rest of your weekend my dear. Cheers! 😍🥂😊

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not familiar with this work but definitely can relate to the feeling of catching music on the radio and the slim pickings. Kids these days don’t know how lucky they have it with digital and streaming options. The world is their oyster!

    Liked by 1 person

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