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Guess I’m Dumb by Glen Campbell

In late 1964, Brian Wilson quit touring with The Beach Boys so that he could focus on composing and arranging their records. His replacement for the first few months, covering his bass and falsetto, was the talented Glen Campbell, then a member of the studio musicians known as the Wrecking Crew, and yet to find success as a solo artist.

As a reward for helping out with The Beach Boys, Brian Wilson gave a rejected song to Glen Campbell to add lead vocals to. ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ was recorded for The Beach Boys Today!, released in 1965, but other group members refused to sing on it. This is mind-boggling given that it’s a superb piece that would have fitted beautifully into the album’s second side of ballads, and that the last spot on the second side was taken up by interviews; ‘Bull Session with Big Daddy’ features enlightening lines like “Of all of Europe the only thing that stuck out in my mind is the bread.”

In any case ‘Guess I’m Dumb’ is both a great lost Beach Boys track and a great lost Campbell track. It’s been largely forgotten by Campbell fans as it predates his fame and it’s clearly a Brian Wilson production that’s distinct from the country flavour of Campbell’s later hits – he hit the big time with ‘Gentle on My Mind’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ in 1967. Campbell does a great job with the ornate vocal melody, while the backing track is Wilson during his period of his greatness – the second side of Today!, Pet Sounds, and the unfinished Smile are his masterpieces – with its dense, Phil Spector inspired sound.

11 thoughts on “Guess I’m Dumb by Glen Campbell Leave a comment

  1. That’s an intriguing story I had not heard before. The same goes for this tune. Glen Campbell is one of these artists whose names I’ve known for a long time but for some reason haven’t found a chance to explore.

    Is there an album you’d recommend to start?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I came at the track as a Brian Wilson fan – it’s on a compilation named Pet Projects that collects his production work during the 1960s and early 1970s.

      I’m interested in Campbell, but the only stuff I has of his is where he’s intersected with someone else I’m interested it – I have a couple of his albums that focus on Jimmy Webb songs.


      • There are sublime moments, most certainly. But the songs are frequently let down by the trite, vacuous lyrics and the albums seem to have moments when someone should have said, ‘Brian, No’.
        I listened to ‘Smile’ recently and enjoyed it. Didn’t have any of those cringe moments, did it?

        Liked by 1 person

        • I think Pet Sounds is generally fine – Wilson got an outside lyricist in for that project, as he did for Smile. I generally don’t think Wilson’s the problem – maybe the odd song like ‘I’m Bugged At My Old Man’ or ‘A Day in the Life of a Tree’ where he wanted to self-express. But most of the time, it’s Mike Love bringing the crassness.

          Liked by 1 person

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