Music

Watch an Unknown Steve Martin Play Banjo With Glen Campbell in 1969

The 24-year-old Martin was a fledgling writer on Campbell's Goodtime Hour.

Music Features Glen Campbell
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Watch an Unknown Steve Martin Play Banjo With Glen Campbell in 1969

The world lost one of its most talented performers on Tuesday when Glen Campbell passed away, at age 81, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Campbell wasn’t just a prolific country-music hit-maker, he was also a highly regarded studio guitarist who cut his teeth playing on records by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector and many others.

Campbell was also a television host from from 1969 to 1972, helming The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS. A variety show featuring music and comedy, it was the perfect place to work if you were a young comedy writer, happened to play the banjo, and were named Steve Martin. On an early episode of Goodtime Hour in 1969, Campbell teamed up with three of his banjo-picking peers (Don Lineberger, John Hartford and Roni Stoneman) and two of his own comedy writers (Mason Williams and a 24-year-old Martin) to play a six-banjo version of “Cripple Creek.”

Read Paste’s ranking of Glen Campbell’s 12 Greatest Songs here.

That’s Martin second from the right, taking the second lead. Improbably, he’d only get better from this point at combining comedy and banjo.

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