Wednesday, August 9, 2017

GLEN CAMPBELL (1936 - 2017)


Glen Campbell, who was a popular entertainer in the '60's and '70's on the country and pop charts, has passed away on August 8th after a valiant battle with Alzheimer's disease. He was officially diagnosed with this in 2011 and soon embarked on a final tour the following year. He made his final television appearance on the 2012 Grammy Awards where he did a thrilling performance of one of his biggest hits, "Rhinestone Cowboy" with this song reaching number one on the country and pop charts back in 1975. Campbell also did his last recordings in 2012 and 2013 which would become his sixty-fourth studio album, "AdiĆ³s" and was just released this year in June.

Born the seventh of twelve children to Wesley and Carrie Campbell in Billstown, Arkansas, Glen was given a guitar as a child and learned to play from his Uncle Dick Bills who was a professional musician with his band, the Sandia Mountain Boys. Campbell dropped out of high school and later went to join his uncle's band in 1956 and stayed with the group until he started his own band in 1958.

Campbell decided to head to California to try and become a solo artist in 1960. He did manage to get a recording contract with Capitol Records but his singles were not successful. However Campbell did become a very popular studio guitarist and was part of the famous "Wrecking Crew" session musicians who backed everyone from Elvis Presley to Frank Sinatra.

Campbell did not give up on his dream to become a recording artist of his own and finally had a breakthrough in 1967 with "Gentle On My Mind" which hit the Billboard Top 40 and earned Campbell two 1968 Grammy Awards for Best Country Male Vocalist and Best Contemporary Male Vocalist. The hits continued for the singer with "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston" and "Southern Nights" to name a few. Campbell became so popular that television came calling with him first making appearances on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" before getting his own variety show, "The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour" which ran from 1969 through 1971. Campbell even made a few movies with the most notable being the 1969 John Wayne film, "True Grit".

A documentary, "Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me" was released in 2014 and covers his struggles with Alzheimer's and the farewell tour. A song from the film, "I’m Not Gonna Miss You", written by Campbell and Julian Raymond, was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song. In tribute, here are a few clips of the talented Glen Campbell performing some of his best known songs:







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