County Music Icon Glen Campbell Dies

A country king stunned cabaret regulars by staging a surprise gig free of charge.

Guitar hero Glen Campbell strolled into Ayr’s Darlington Hotel in front of shocked guests in 1973.

And the Rhinestone Cowboy star would delight just 250 fans with an impromptu set.

The special moment at Ayr’s nightlife mecca was recalled as tributes poured in for Campbell, who died last week aged 81.

Ayr’s own country king Sydney Devine, who was compering on the night in question, said: “I had my usual line-up ready to go, with the bill including Jimmy Tarbuck and Kenny Lynch.

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“But I soon became aware we might be getting a special guest.

“Gay Brewer, the American golfer, had been coming in all week as he was over for the British Open at Troon. He came up to me and said an important guest would be joining him that night, but I never dreamed it would be Glenn Campbell.”

Moments later, Campbell and golf star Lanny Watkins arrived at the Miller Road venue before taking their seats.

The property is now the LA Bowl and Lychees Chinese restaurant.

Glen Campbell in 2008

Steak ’n’ Kidney, 77, recalls: “The word was that Glen and Lanny were staying at the Marine in Troon.

“Apparently Glen was bunking down on a camp bed.

“It was a huge thing to have him walk in – I don’t think he’d ever been to the UK at that point.

“I asked him to step up and take a bow for the crowd and he picked up my guitar.

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“He just loved playing – he looked over at our musical director Jimmy Cosker and asked what he had.

“Forty minutes later he was still playing; it was a magical night.”

Sydney added: “He went through big hits like Wichita Lineman and By The Time I Get To Phoenix.

“Unfortunately, Rhinestone Cowboy had yet to be released so we didn’t get to hear that.

“But he was an awesome musician and it was a very special experience.”

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