Glen Campbell

UPDATE – AUGUST 8, 2017 – Glen Campbell passed away on this date, at the age of 81, from Alzheimer’s disease. RIP Glen Campbell! You will be missed.

  • Born in 1936 in Billstown AR.
  • His career started in 1958, after he moved to Albuquerque and formed a band, the Western Wranglers.
  • By 1960, he moved to Los Angeles and was an active session musician, playing guitar for recordings by many of the biggest musical stars of the time, including Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, the Monkees, and Dean Martin. He also joined a band, The Champs.
  • His solo career began in 1961, and his first single, Turn Around, Look At Me, was a minor success. This was followed by several albums that were not successful.
  • For 4 months in 1964 and 1965, he filled in for Brian Wilson as a touring member of the Beach Boys, and he played guitar on their ground breaking album, Pet Sounds.
  • The hits started coming in 1967. His first huge hit was Gentle On My Mind, written by John Hartford (this song has been covered by over 300 artists, and BMI ranked it #16 on their list of the greatest songs of the 20th century). This was followed by a string of hits written by Jimmy Webb – By The Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman, and Galveston.
  • Campbell gained additional fame on television. He was the summertime host in 1968 for The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and his success on this show led to his own prime time variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran from 1969 to 1972. Many musical acts performed on this show, including Bread, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Anne Murray and Johnny Cash.
  • He continued his musical success in the mid-70s, with his biggest selling single Rhinestone Cowboy, and Southern Nights.
  • He also had success in acting. He appeared in the John Wayne movie True Grit, earning a Golden Globe nomination. He appeared in 12 movies and TV shows – his most recent was the documentary I’ll Be Me, which followed his final year in show business as he grappled with Alzheimer’s disease. This movie is on Netflix, and I highly recommend that you watch it.
  • As Alzheimer’s disease became more severe, he retired from public life – his last performance was in November 2012. Today, he is in Nashville at a memory care facility, unable to communicate or understand what people say to him.
  • In total, he made 60 studio albums, 7 live albums, 4 soundtrack albums and 127 compilation albums. He had 9 #1 singles. He has sold over 45 million records, and has won 10 Grammy awards.
  • When I was a kid, my mom played Glen Campbell music constantly, and today I still enjoy singing along to his early hits, particularly Wichita Lineman. Here’s a performance he did for PBS in the late 00s – he looks and sounds great here.

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