This song from 1969 was written by Jimmy Webb and widely thought to be one of the many Vietnam protest songs that were coming to the fore at that time. This is understandable considering it tells the sad story of a soldier dreaming of his girlfriend back at home in his much loved Galveston while he prepares himself to enter into battle.
However, the Vietnam protest idea was put to rest when Jimmy Webb was interviewed and he said that he had been basing the song on a soldier in the Spanish-American War that went on some 70 years previous in 1898.
The song was recorded and released in 1969 by Glen Campbell who wore military clothing when singing it for the promotional video, spiking the anti-Vietnam War idea. It became so popular that it was certified gold and reached No. 1 on the US Easy Listening and Country charts, No. 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No.14 on the UK Singles chart. It was the title track of Campbell’s album release that same year.
In the mid-1990s the song was performed by Jimmy Webb with the solo piano providing the main body of the music. It was described in Stylus Magazine as “nearly Schubert-esque”.
44 years after being released in 2003 the song appeared in CMT’s 100 Greatest Songs in Country Music in the No. 8 position.