Glen Campbell’s Life Took True Grit
Glen Campbell passed away this week at the age of 81. For years, the dreaded disease of Alzheimer’s had been destroying Campbell’s memory, body and soul. His tenor voice may have been been considered one of the best in all of country music, but it was heard across the spectrum of musical genres, with an assortment of stars from each.
Campbell’s abilities didn’t end with his voice. His musicianship was rooted in the jazz guitar of Django Reinhardt, learning to play at a young age. Campbell played as a session musician in the early 1960s, for rock and country acts. You’ve heard him, even if you didn’t know it, playing on “Tambourine Man” by The Byrds and “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” by The Righteous Brothers. He even filled in for Brian Wilson when he took time off from The Beach Boys.
The incredible thing is, Campbell played “by ear” because he didn’t read music. He would hear a song once and immediately be able to commit it to memory. Campbell’s career even extended onto television, as a performer on Shindig! and then his own series in the late 1960s. Campbell was even cast as a co-star to John Wayne in True Grit.
A TV movie documentary called Glen Campbell: The Rhinestone Cowboy featured Campbell’s music and his life. Then, the following year, the 2014 documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me — one of the best of its kind — documented his battle with Alzheimer’s as he embarks on his farewell world tour and the pain his family endured dealing with his care.
Campbell’s first hit came in 1967. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was soon followed with “Galveston,” “Gentle on My Mind” and “Wichita Lineman.” He won multiple Grammy Awards for pop music and country. Then, in 1975, “Rhinestone Cowboy” became the biggest hit of his career.
Campbell was born in 1936 in Delight, Arkansas and he died in Nashville, Tennessee.
Campbell was a musician’s musician, as was evidenced by his many appearances on the variety shows of others, as well as their appearances on his own show. Now, enjoy a few of those.