Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker showdown at Grand Casino
Okay, Glen and Tanya won't be literally going head-to-head; Campbell plays Grand Casino Mille Lacs on these Friday and Saturday nights (April 16/17, $20/26, featuring daughter Debby Campbell) while his former paramour Tucker plays Grand Casino Hinckley a week later and an hour's drive away (April 24, SOLD OUT). But the pair, well-known not only for each of their long string of hits from the late 60s through late 90s and their duet "Dream Lover" but also for their highly tempestuous relationship - ending when Campbell was 45 and Tucker barely 22, and not because Campbell knocked Tucker's teeth out, though he allegedly did just that, but because he was upset she went out to a Los Angeles nightclub without his supervision - will likely be competing not only for who can still knock out the most crowd-pleasing hits, but who is the hottest hot mess. From what I've seen of them both lately, it's gonna be a real nail-biter.
So what have these two been up to lately, besides becoming scarily plastic-looking and posing for drunk mugshots (Tanya and Glen respectively)?
Tanya's still putting out records - her last, "My Turn," was released in June 2009 - but if you ever caught her reality show "Tuckerville" it's clear she's focused on her family life. Regardless, word around Nashville during my last visit revealed that she still goes out on the town and is still really... something. Really something. Check out her website for more information, provided via Twitter of course (note that Campbell is not active on Twitter, and remember again he's over two decades older than his ex-girlfriend). A few Tucker Twitter highlights, reminding me why I so badly wanted to run into this woman in a Nashville bar to see who could drink whom under the table:
Michael Jackson style even while in an orphanage.
Me hanging with the boys:)
First catch of the day - skip jack tuna!
It's been a little longer since Campbell's been active on the country charts, but he's hoping to change that with his new record "Meet Glen Campbell". The album, which seems to be an attempt to reach out to new and younger audiences a la Rick Rubin's Johnny Cash sessions, features covers of songs by Travis, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Foo Fighters, Jackson Browne, The Replacements, U2, Velvet Underground, Green Day and John Lennon. Replacements! Green Day! Travis! Those exclamation points could just as easily be question marks. I just... don't know what to say. Glen Campbell, you have rendered me speechless.
In short, these shows are going to be really weird. And I'm thrilled they're happening within a week of each other. Early bets place Tucker as the winner, though to envision this, it's important to note how far she's come since her state post-breakup. A few highlights from an interview of Tucker published in People magazine shortly after her relationship with Campbell ended.
Just a few days after a bust-up that her own C&W lyrics could have warned her about, the usually cocky Tanya Tucker issued a poignant instruction from her San Francisco hotel suite: No phone calls, except from Glen Campbell. It was a hope, at least, that something might change. After all, she and Glen were due to travel to England together last week to start a European concert tour. They were planning to marry next Valentine's Day. But now Glen will be singing solo, offstage and on, and the wedding is off. "I guess I just got too old for him," the 22-year-old Tanya quips of her 45-year-old former swain. But her bravado bounces crazily these days, and the next minute she's blinking back tears. "I would lay down my life for Glen Campbell if I could just make him totally happy for even one day," she sighs, "but he's not the kind to change his mind." The phone never rings. For the first time in 14 months, the Wichita Lineman ain't on the line.
One of those heartbreaks is the Rhinestone Cowgirl, a high-fashion designer boutique that Tanya was planning to open in Beverly Hills this summer with Glen's backing. When she dreamed up the idea, he was enthusiastic, anteing up a preliminary investment of $115,000. But to finish the store in the grand style she envisions, Tanya needs $350,000 more, funds which Campbell no longer intends to invest. The lovingly planned gala opening--with Glen singing his hit Rhinestone Cowboy as Tanya rode in on a white horse--will also have to be revised. But Tanya isn't giving up. "I thought about saying, 'Screw it,' " she admits. "But you get an idea you believe in and you want to make it work. If I have to get in there with a hammer myself, I'll do it."
Part of Glen's continuing appeal, Tanya admits, is his resemblance to her father. "I don't know about everybody, but most girls look for a guy like their daddy," she theorizes of their similarly hardscrabble Southern origins. "I finally found a man like my daddy. Glen is the seventh son, and so is my dad. In the Bible, it says that seventh sons are special." Her father, Beau, worked, she says, at "everything from selling junk iron to core drilling" when Tanya was growing up in Wilcox, Ariz. He became her manager even before her Delta Dawn became a No. 1 country hit when she was all of 13. Beau now runs Tanya's 3,000-acre ranch in McEwen, Tenn., where she raises quarter horses and registered Red Poll cattle. Her mother, Juanita, has been visiting her in the two-bedroom house she owns in Beverly Hills. Her parents heartily approved of the match with Glen. "My family really loved him and really cared," says Tanya. "And they still do." So, clearly, does Tanya. "He's the most gentle, loving, giving man I've ever met," she says. She looks wistfully at the diamond ring that Glen gave her exactly at midnight last New Year's Eve, while they were onstage in Honolulu. "I thought maybe I should take it off," she adds forlornly. "But I can't. I'm going to wear it as long as I can."
Glen sings "Rhinestone Cowboy" while Tanya and her daddy issues ride in on a white horse. Never was to be, as the Wichita Lineman was not on the line.
Doesn't get any better than this.