Beach Boys with Glen Campbell at Grammys--wouldn't it be nice?
The Grammy Awards telecast prides itself on creating unexpected or historic collaborations among performers, a tradition that’s led to some of the most memorable moments in Grammy night history (Eminem and Elton John singing “Stan” in 2001) and some we’re happy to forget (Paul McCartney, Jay-Z and Linkin Park on “Yesterday/Numb/Encore” in 2006).
This year’s show continues that practice with the Beach Boys' 50th anniversary reunion performance, during which the venerable sun and surf outfit will team up with the relative whippersnappers in Foster the People and Maroon 5.
Elsewhere on the show, country-pop singer and guitarist Glen Campbell will be joined by the Band Perry and Blake Shelton for a segment celebrating the Lifetime Achievement Award being given to Campbell, who has seen an outpouring of affection and support from fans since he announced last year that he is living with Alzheimer’s disease and has embarked on a series of live shows that is being billed as his farewell tour.
Given the players involved, it’s hard not to yearn for a spot that would put Campbell together with the Beach Boys one more, and one last time.
Longtime Beach Boys and Campbell watchers know that Campbell played on many of the group’s studio recordings and actually became a Beach Boy for a time, taking over on bass for Brian Wilson when he decided to abandon touring to focus on his increasingly sophisticated ideas about the group’s records, which he produced and arranged as well as wrote or co-wrote and sang on.
Wilson has been making a steady comeback for more than a decade from a couple of nervous breakdowns, drug abuse and other issues that interrupted his once-brilliant career, and now Campbell is gracefully—and bravely—closing out a career that’s had many ups and a few downs.
Bringing these two battle-scarred, ‘60s survivors together would be more than sweet nostalgia. It could yield a powerful testimonial to perseverance against extraordinary odds, the kind of once-in-a-lifetime musical moment millions of viewers would be able to cherish.
How moving would it be to see Wilson and Campbell, with a lot of help from Mike Love, Al Jardine, Bruce Johnston and David Marks, harmonize on the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows,” or maybe Campbell’s 1969 hit “Try a Little Kindness”—and let Campbell flex those still nimble fingers on an electric guitar solo, as he did so confidently Monday night at the Grammy Museum?
The odds are against it—with so many moving parts, it’s unlikely Grammy show coordinators would be able to toss another variable into the mix.
But, as someone once sang, wouldn’t it be nice?
Photo of Carl Wilson, left, and Glen Campbell on tour with the Beach Boys in 1964. Credit: Unknown.