Glen Campbell

Coun­try-mu­sic world says good­bye to icon

Calgary Sun - - SHOWBIZ - KrIStIn M. Hall The Associated Press

NASHVILLE — Glen Campbell, the af­fa­ble su­per­star singer of Rhine­stone Cow­boy and Wi­chita Line­man whose ap­peal spanned coun­try, pop, tele­vi­sion and movies, died Tues­day, his fam­ily said. He was 81. Campbell’s fam­ily said the singer died in Nashville and pub­li­cist Sandy Brokaw con­firmed the news. No cause was im­me­di­ately given.

Campbell an­nounced in June 2011 he had been di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s disease and that it was in its early stages at that time.

“Glen is one of the great­est voices there ever was in the busi­ness and he was one of the great­est mu­si­cians,” said Dolly Par­ton in a video state­ment.

“He was a won­der­ful ses­sion mu­si­cian as well. A lot of peo­ple don’t re­al­ize that. But he could play any­thing and he could play it re­ally well.”

Trib­utes poured in on so­cial me­dia.

“Thank you Glen Campbell for shar­ing your tal­ent with us for so many years May you rest in peace my friend You will never be for­got­ten,” wrote Char­lie Daniels.

One of Campbell’s daugh­ters, Ash­ley, said she was heart­bro­ken. “I owe him ev­ery­thing I am, and ev­ery­thing I ever will be. He will be re­mem­bered so well and with so much love,” she wrote on Twit­ter.

In the late 1960s and into the ’70s, the Arkansas na­tive was ev­ery­where with his boy­ish face, wavy hair and friendly tenor. He won five Gram­mys, sold more than 45 mil­lion records, had 12 gold al­bums and 75 chart hits, in­clud­ing No. 1 songs with Rhine­stone Cow­boy and South­ern Nights.

His per­for­mance of the ti­tle song from the 1969 film True Grit, in which he played a Texas Ranger along­side Os­car win­ner John Wayne, re­ceived an Academy Award nom. He was voted into the Coun­try Mu­sic Hall of Fame in 2005.

Campbell was among a wave of coun­try cross­over stars that in­cluded Johnny Cash, Roy Clark and Kenny Rogers, and like many con­tem­po­raries, he en­joyed suc­cess on TV. Campbell had a weekly au­di­ence of 50 mil­lion peo­ple for the Glen Campbell Good­time Hour ,on CBS from 1969 to 1972.

The doc­u­men­tary Glen Campbell ... I’ll Be Me came out in 2014. The film about Campbell’s 2011-12 farewell tour of­fers a poignant look at his de­cline from Alzheimer’s while show­cas­ing his vir­tu­oso guitar chops that con­tin­ued to shine as his mind un­rav­eled.

A share­crop­per’s son who was one of 12 chil­dren, he was born out­side of De­light, Ark., and grew up rever­ing coun­try mu­sic stars such as Hank Williams. “I’m not a coun­try singer per se,” Campbell once said. “I’m a coun­try boy who sings.”

He was 4 when he learned to play guitar. As a teenager, anx­ious to es­cape a life of farm work and un­paid bills, he moved to Al­bu­querque to join his un­cle’s band. By his early 20s, he had formed his own group, the Western Wran­glers. He opened for the Doors and sang and played bass with the Beach Boys. In 1966, Campbell played on the Beach Boys’ clas­sic Pet Sounds al­bum. By the late ’60s, he was a per­former on his own.

He was mar­ried four times and had eight chil­dren. As he would con­fide in painful de­tail, Campbell suf­fered for his fame and made oth­ers suf­fer as well. He drank heav­ily, used drugs and in­dulged in a tur­bu­lent re­la­tion­ship with coun­try singer Tanya Tucker in the early 1980s.

He is sur­vived by his wife, Kim; their three chil­dren, Cal, Shan­non and Ash­ley; and his chil­dren from pre­vi­ous mar­riages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane and Dil­lon.

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