In 1981, Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker’s oftentimes-stormy relationship was fodder for the tabloids. It was a relationship allegedly marked by violent fights, drug use, and myriad other controversies. And if a veteran pop and country music songwriter’s claims are to be believed, it might have also cost Campbell a chance to return to the pop charts with a bang with another huge crossover hit.
Following Campbell’s death on Tuesday at the age of 81, the Miami Herald took a look at Steve Dorff’s upcoming autobiography, I Wrote that One, Too… A Life in Songwriting from Willie to Whitney, a book that features stories behind the songwriter’s many hit singles and unforgettable television theme songs. One of those famous tunes was the Kenny Rogers song “Through the Years,” which Dorff co-wrote with Marty Panzer, en route to a peak position of No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100 pop singles charts and No. 5 on the publication’s country charts.
Dorff wrote in his book that the 1981 hit song “Through the Years” was supposed to be recorded by Glen Campbell, who, at the time, was dating Tanya Tucker, and also several years removed from his last big hit on the pop charts. He claims that he had felt strongly about recommending “Through the Years” to Campbell, whose representatives asked him to write a song he could perform on a Bob Hope Special on NBC.
According to Steve Dorff, he had gone to Glen Campbell’s house to pitch the song, only to hear “yelling and screaming” inside, and to see the singer “looking quite flustered and disheveled.”
“A hairdryer came flying across the doorway. I dodged it just in time not to get brained. Apparently, my arrival coincided with the ending of a lovers’ quarrel between Glen and Tanya. As I entered the house, I realized that it possibly wasn’t the best time to be playing a quintessential love song about long-lasting commitment.”
Although Dorff claims to have arrived after another alleged bust-up between Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker, he was still willing to preview “Through the Years,” playing it on the singer’s piano. Campbell, however, was seemingly unimpressed.
“Glen stopped me in the middle of the first chorus and told me the song wasn’t right for him and escorted me out the door.”
After Campbell turned the song down, Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie would both battle for the right to record “Through the Years,” with Rogers eventually recording the song and making it into a pop and country hit. Meanwhile, Campbell’s days as a crossover star were well behind him at that time; as noted by AZCentral, Glen had last hit the U.S. Top 40 in 1978 with “Can You Fool.”
Yesterday, the Inquisitr had looked back at the relationship Glen Campbell and Tanya Tucker had in the early-1980s. At the time they were dating, “Delta Dawn” singer Tucker was only 22-years-old, exactly half the age of Campbell. The pair was reportedly due to marry on Valentine’s Day, 1982, but had ended up breaking up the year prior, apparently on acrimonious terms. Despite all that, Tanya still remembered Glen as the “greatest love” of her life, and the reason she never married anyone after their relationship ended.
Were the relationship troubles between Glen Campbell and then-girlfriend Tanya Tucker enough to make him turn down a potential comeback hit? Based on Steve Dorff’s recollections, that might have been the case. But as the Miami Herald concluded, “Through the Years” might have turned out to be a fitting song for Campbell after all, as he would finally experience the long-lasting, loving marriage the song describes when he tied the knot with Kim Woolen in 1982.
[Featured Image by Rick Diamond/Getty Images]