Gentle on My Mind

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"Gentle on My Mind" is a song written by John Hartford,[1] which won four 1968 Grammy Awards. Hartford won the award for Best Folk Performance and Best Country & Western Song (Songwriter). The other two awards Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male and Best Country & Western Recording, went to American country music singer Glen Campbell for his version of Hartford's song.

"Gentle on My Mind"
Glen Campbell - Gentle single cover.jpg
Single by Glen Campbell
from the album Gentle on My Mind
B-side"Just Another Man"
ReleasedJune 19, 1967
July 1968 (re-release)
Format7"
RecordedMay 17, 1967
Capitol Studios, Hollywood, California
GenreCountry
Length2:58
LabelCapitol 5939
Songwriter(s)John Hartford
Producer(s)Al DeLory
Glen Campbell singles chronology
"Burning Bridges"
(1967)
"Gentle on My Mind"
(1967)
"By the Time I Get to Phoenix"
(1967)

The song was released in June 1967 as the only single from the album of the same name. It was re-released in July 1968 to more success. Glen Campbell's version has received over 5 million plays on the radio. Campbell used "Gentle on My Mind" as the theme to his television variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour between 1969 and 1972. Dean Martin's version, recorded in 1968, was a major hit in the United Kingdom; three versions of the song, Campbell's, Martin's and Patti Page's, all reached the top ten of the U.S. easy listening chart in 1968. The song was ranked number 16 on BMI's Top 100 Songs of the Century.[2]

CompositionEdit

Hartford reported that he was inspired to write the song after seeing the film Doctor Zhivago when his own memories took over, and that it took about thirty minutes to write down. Hartford said of the writing:

I went to see the movie Doctor Zhivago the night I wrote it. Everyone's made a whole lot out of that. I know it gave me a feeling that caused me to start writing, but as far as saying it came from that, I don't know. It just came from experience. While I was writing it, if I had any idea that was going to be a hit, it probably would have come out differently and it wouldn't have been a hit. That just came real fast, a blaze, a blur.[3]

Glen Campbell's recordingEdit

Campbell heard Hartford's original version on the radio and decided at once that he wanted to record it. At the time, Campbell was under contract with Capitol Records as a solo artist but had little success in establishing a name for himself. Campbell gathered some of his fellow Wrecking Crew session players to come into the Capitol studio to record a demo version that he could pitch to his producer Al De Lory. Between phrases and stanzas, Campbell would yell instructions to the players. He then left the rough recording for his producer to listen to. De Lory fell in love, not only with the song, but also with the recording itself. Without telling Campbell, he took the tape back into the studio and removed the unwanted verbiage from between the phrases. He then released the demo recording, which became a hit for Campbell.

The song was first released in 1967, and it was released in 1968 in the wake of the success of "By the Time I Get to Phoenix". It reached No. 30 on Billboard's Country chart, and No. 39 on the Pop chart. The song however continued to receive widespread airplay; in 1990, BMI named it as the fourth-most-played song on radio ever in the United States.[4] The song has also sold 251,000 digital copies as of August 2017 since it became available for download in the digital era.[5]

Chart performancesEdit

Glen Campbell versionEdit

Chart (1967) Peak
position
Australia (Kent Music Report) 88
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[6] 30
US Billboard Hot 100[7] 62
Chart (1968) Peak
position
Canadian RPM Country Tracks 20
Canadian RPM Top Singles 60
U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles 44
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 39
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 8

Aretha Franklin versionEdit

American singer Aretha Franklin recorded the song in 1969 and released it as a single as the B-side to "I Can't See Myself Leaving You". Her version peaked at number 76 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 50 on the Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles chart. The song was featured on her album Soul '69.

Chart (1969) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[8] 76
U.S. Billboard Hot Rhythm & Blues Singles 50

Dean Martin versionEdit

American singer Dean Martin recorded the song in 1968 and released it as a single. His version peaked at number 2 on the UK Singles Chart, number 3 in Ireland and number 9 on the U.S. Billboard Easy Listening chart.

Chart (1969) Peak
position
United Kingdom (The Official Charts Company) 2
Ireland (IRMA) 3
US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles (Billboard)[9] 103
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 9

Patti Page versionEdit

American singer Patti Page recorded the song in 1968 and released it as a single. Her version peaked at number 66 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 7 on the U.S. Billboard Easy Listening chart.

Chart (1968) Peak
position
US Billboard Hot 100[10] 66
U.S. Billboard Easy Listening 7

The Band Perry versionEdit

"Gentle on My Mind"
Single by The Band Perry
from the album Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me soundtrack
ReleasedSeptember 22, 2014 (2014-09-22)
FormatMusic download
GenreCountry
Length3:10
LabelRepublic Nashville
Songwriter(s)John Hartford
Producer(s)Dann Huff
The Band Perry singles chronology
"Chainsaw"
(2014)
"Gentle on My Mind"
(2014)
"Live Forever"
(2015)

American country music group The Band Perry recorded the song in 2014 for the soundtrack of the Glen Campbell documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, earning a Grammy Award for Best Country Duo/Group Performance in 2015.

Chart (2014) Peak
position
US Country Airplay (Billboard)[11] 29
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[12] 35

Other coversEdit

Altogether it has been recorded by over 300 different artists, though Campbell's version remains the best known in the United States.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gilliland, John (1969). "Show 40 - Ballad in Plain D: Bob Dylan. [1966] : UNT Digital Library" (audio). Pop Chronicles. Digital.library.unt.edu. Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  2. ^ "BMI Announces Top 100 Songs of the Century". Broadcast Music, Inc. 13 December 1999. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  3. ^ Jarvey, Paul. Hartford Has a Prolific Hand". - Telegram & Gazette. - July 15, 1992.
  4. ^ Michael McCall and John Rumble, eds. (February 1, 2012). The Encyclopedia of Country Music (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199920839.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Bjorke, Matt (August 21, 2017). "Top 30 Digital Country Singles Sales Chart: August 21, 2017". Roughstock.
  6. ^ "Glen Campbell Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  7. ^ "Glen Campbell Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  8. ^ "Aretha Franklin Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  9. ^ "Dean Martin Chart History (Bubbling Under Hot 100)". Billboard.
  10. ^ "Patti Page Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  11. ^ "The Band Perry Chart History (Country Airplay)". Billboard.
  12. ^ "The Band Perry Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard.
  13. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 15, 2017.
  14. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  15. ^ "45cat.com". 45cat.com. Retrieved April 18, 2019.
  16. ^ "Discogs.com". Discogs.com. Retrieved May 15, 2017.

External linksEdit