This week’s riff. Glen Campbell, the great guitarist and singer, died earlier this week after a prolonged battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Along with Rod Stewart and George Harrison, Glen was one of the first pop stars I can remember. I can vividly recall seeing him sing Witchita Lineman on TV in the early 1970s. He had a guitar slung over his denim-jacketed back and I thought it was the coolest thing ever – and for a six-year old growing up in Morecambe, it probably was! He was my first hero.
Unsurprisingly, when I heard that he was coming to play in Nottingham a few years ago, I immediately bought tickets. Glen’s illness was just starting to take hold and, to be honest, I felt a little uncomfortable that he couldn’t remember the names of his band members or recollect all the lines of his newer songs.
When Glen played Wichita Lineman, however, the words came effortlessly to him and his guitar solo was as clean, crisp and beautiful as it was when it was first recorded.
Campbell’s guitar playing that evening was the best and most heart-wrenching example of ‘unconscious competence’ I’d ever seen – you can see him play the song on Later With Jools Holland, on the same tour, by clicking here. As Siggy Sjursen, Glen’s bass player, said in a recent article, “The style he’s playing does not sit in his memory; it sits in his muscles and his emotions that he will always remember.”
What are the leadership and management skills you need to thrive in your role and lead your organization to success? And what steps are you taking to build those skills and, like my first hero, reach a level of true ‘unconscious competence’?
Off The Record: Wichita Lineman by Glen Campbell
I hear you singing in the wire
I can hear you through the wine
And the Wichita Lineman
Is still on the line
© Stuart Cross 2017. All rights reserved.