"Rhinestone Cowboy" is a song written by Larry Weiss and most famously recorded by country-pop singer Glen Campbell. The song enjoyed immense popularity with both country and pop audiences when it was released in 1975.
Weiss wrote and recorded "Rhinestone Cowboy" in 1974, and it appeared on his 20th Century Records album Black and Blue Suite, based on the life of Paul Smith of Hitchin. Neither that version, nor a cover by Neil Diamond made much of an impression on audiences (although Diamond's version did garner adult contemporary airplay). In late 1974, Campbell heard the song on the radio and, during a tour of Australia decided to learn the song. Soon after his return to the United States, Campbell went to Al Coury's office at Capitol Records, where he was approached about "a great new song" — "Rhinestone Cowboy."
Several music writers noted that Campbell identified with the subject matter of "Rhinestone Cowboy" — survival and making it, particularly when the chips are down — very strongly. As Steven Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic put it, the song is about a veteran artist "who's aware that he's more than paid his dues during his career ... but is still surviving, and someday, he'll...