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(Credit: Elbow / Press)

Music

Watch Elbow cover the Glen Campbell classic ‘Wichita Lineman’

Paul Rudd’s kid at Christmas reaction in the video below tells you everything you need to know about the ridiculous resonance of the Glen Campbell classic ‘Wichita Lineman’. There are some folks who are yet to be grabbed by its brilliance, I am unfortunate enough to know a few of these fools personally, but if you love it then it is a certified favourite. Thankfully, Elbow love it too. 

And they are not alone either. The mighty Bob Dylan even called it ‘the greatest song ever written’. It is a song that warrants such concise noble praise. It couples simplicity with profundity like a Phillip Larkin poem. Floating on an effortless melody it tells a timeless tale with the same careworn beauty as an old pub tale. 

“When I heard it, I cried,” the late Glen Campbell told BBC Radio 4, “It made me cry because I was homesick. When I was on the way home, I saw all these electrical wires and the telephone poles, it made me cry.” The truth is that without the weight of music behind it, a man weeping at the sight of a telephone pole would never occur unless a telephone engineer suddenly developed an unabating fear of heights.

However, when it comes to ‘Wichita Lineman’ these usually unseen totems of society are not only representative of a singular tale about a lonely workman out on the highways, but the unnoticed struggle of the common man in general. In short, we all relate to the labours and longing of the lineman. 

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Even songwriter Jimmy Webb’s explanation for the origin of the song itself seems to ratify this: “I suddenly looked up at one of these telephone poles and there was a man on top talking on the telephone and he was gone very quickly and I had another 25 miles of solitude to meditate on this apparition. It was a splendidly vivid cinematic image that I lifted out of my memory when I was writing this song about an ordinary guy, a working-class type of dude.”

Beyond that, the song is a summery gem, and Elbow do a simply fantastic job of covering it. That got us wondering, ‘Will the band bring out the cover as they head to Glastonbury’s Pyramid Stage’? Regardless of whether it makes Elbow’s main stage set between 17:45 to 18:45 after Diana Ross, the clip should warm things up nicely for ‘One Day Like This’. It’s a slice of sunshine and Paul Rudd went wild.

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