Glen Campbell Dead at 81
Glen Campbell, the singer-guitarist who’s music bridged country and pop, died Tuesday August 8 after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.
His hits included Gentle on My Mind, Rhinestone Cowboy, Wichita Lineman and By the Time I Get to Phoenix. Campbell released more than 60 studio albums, selling 45 million during his 50-plus years in show business. Before his own hits, Campbell was a session guitarist of literally hundreds of recording sessions with a Los Angeles-based team of ace musicians.
“He had that beautiful tenor with a crystal-clear guitar sound, playing lines that were so inventive,” Tom Petty once told Rolling Stone magazine. “It moved me.”
Born on April 22, 1936 in Arkansas, he moved to L.A. in the late 1950s. Campbell began writing songs and recording demos, and he became a sought-after session guitarist, playing for Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and The Monkees.
With The Beach Boys, he played guitar on the Pet Sounds album and toured with the band for several months following the breakdown of Brian Wilson.
He became part of Phil Spector’s The Wrecking Crew, the famed session band that created the producer’s legendary “Wall of Sound.”
From 1969-72, Campbell hosted The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. The variety show featured Steve Martin and Rob Reiner as writers and featured many of his friends as musical guests, including Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings.
Glen Campbell was married four times and had five sons and three daughters. His youngest children Cal, Shannon and Ashley joined him as his backup band on his last series of concerts, dubbed The Goodbye Tour, which launched in Los Angeles in late 2011.
These moments along with his personal struggle with Alzheimer’s disease was captured in the 2014 documentary, Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me.
“He’ll struggle with a guitar solo one day and the next he’ll just nail it completely,” Ashley told the Tampa Bay Times about her father’s deteriorating condition.
Campbell was moved to a care facility for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients near Nashville in 2014.
This article has information from Billboard online.