If I had do it all over, I wouldn't have kept as busy. I was always going somewhere, on the road doing this and that. I think I probably would have cooled it a little more. (sings) "If I knew then what I know now. I would have…" That's a good song.
I want to ask you about two of your biggest hits being done by other people. Elvis Presley covered "Gentle On My Mind" in an arrangement and style very similar to yours. What did that mean to you to have him pay tribute like that?
Elvis and I were friends before that. In fact, he called me up and said, "Campbell, I like that song." I said, "Who is this?" And he laughed and said, "It's Elvis." We grew up the same way, picking cotton and looking a mule in the butt. So we really hit it off. I thought he was the nicest guy, real friendly, and the best-looking guy, too. Plus, the guy was an incredible singer.
And I'm sure that over the past 40 years, you've had time to listen to all 18 minutes of Isaac Hayes' "By The Time I Get To Phoenix." What did you think when you heard that?
I thought it was great. You don't get a whole lot of radio play with an 18-minute song. I just wanted to say what the words said and get out of the way. I didn't want to drag it out.
Finally, what lies ahead for you?
God only knows. That was good song, too. (sings) "God only knows what I'd be without you." I'll tell you this. That was one of the most special times of my life, getting to play rhythm guitar with my capo for all those artists I got to work with, like Sinatra and Dean Martin, The Beach Boys, Mamas and Papas. I got to play rhythm guitar for everybody in the business. I get chills just thinking that I got to do that.
You can hear this interview in its entirety at Wings For Wheels.