On This Date: Tanya Tucker & Glen Campbell Sing The National Anthem At The Republican National Convention In 1980

Tanya Tucker
Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

The 1980’s were truly a wild time (I’m told), and the decade full of big hair and career-breaking music videos also saw the rise of country music’s “wild child” Tanya Tucker.

As many country fans know, Tucker hit it big at the incredibly young age of 13 years old with the country music classic “Delta Dawn.” Whether she liked it or not, she was thrust into stardom, which as the public has seen time and time again, can be pretty challenging for a child star.

It’s no industry secret that Tucker dabbled in some “non-prescriptions” from time to time, and based on this long told tale of her duet with Glen Campbell at the 1980 Republican National Convention, both her and the “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer were on a little something when they sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”

Campbell and Tucker were often viewed as a pretty combustible couple, dating off and on throughout the years and sometimes making their relationship and its issues more public than it really needed to be. The pair got together when Tanya was 21-years-old and Campbell was 44, so the age gap also proved to be an issue.

The news absolutely loved the singing couple since they provided so much headline material, and even though things were obviously far from perfect, it was clear that Campbell and Tucker loved one another.

Their actual relationship might have been tumultuous, but their harmonies in their duets could not have been more perfect. The iconic voices of both singers matched up like two puzzle pieces, and it was undeniable that the two knew how to entertain an audience together.

That’s why their services were called upon to perform our country’s anthem at the 1980 Republican National Convention (the year Ronald Regan was elected), and those that were there say that the duet was truly an unforgettable performance.

Glen later admitted after the fact that they were on cocaine while they performed the song honoring the stars and stripes, and even said they were “higher than the notes” they were singing.

In his autobiography, he says:

“On July 14th, 1980, Tanya and I sang the national anthem at the Republican National Convention.

I have often wondered what members of the Grand Old Party would have thought had they known that their opening day singers had recently been higher than the notes they were singing.”

Absolutely legendary stuff, and if we are being honest, probably par for the course for the 1980’s. It has been reported that Campbell and Tucker bonded over drug use during their short-lived romance, and though it didn’t ultimately work out between the two artist, Tanya often talks about Glen like he was the one who got away.

She even released a song in 2017 titled “Forever Loving You” as tribute to Campbell, who passed away that year at the age of 81 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Though it is hard to track down the video of the national anthem performance from 1980 RNC, there’s a clip during this Larry King interview from 2004:

You can also watch this rendition of “Dream Lover” that the couple sang together:

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock