GLEN CAMPBELL: Su­per­star coun­try entertainer of the ’60s and ’70s dead at 81 af­ter bat­tle with Alzheimer’s.

Su­per­star who suf­fered from Alzheimer’s dies in Nashville at the age of 81

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - KRISTIN M. HALL

Singer Glen Campbell, whose dozens of hit sin­gles in­cluded “Rhine­stone Cow­boy” and “Wi­chita Line­man” and whose ap­peal spanned coun­try, pop, tele­vi­sion and movies, has died. He was 81.

Campbell’s fam­ily said he died Tues­day morn­ing in Nashville and pub­li­cist Sandy Brokaw con­firmed the news. No cause was im­me­di­ately given.

Campbell an­nounced in June 2011 that he had been di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“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 well into the ’70s, the Arkansas na­tive seemed to be ev­ery­where, known by 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 “True Grit,” a 1969 re­lease in which he played a Texas Ranger along­side Os­car win­ner John Wayne, re­ceived an Academy Award nom­i­na­tion.

He twice won al­bum-of-the-year awards from the Academy of Coun­try Mu­sic and was voted into the Coun­try Mu­sic Hall of Fame in 2005. Seven years later, he re­ceived a Grammy for life­time achieve­ment.

His last record was “Adios,” which came out in June and fea­tures songs that Campbell loved to sing but never recorded, in­clud­ing tunes made fa­mous by Bob Dy­lan, Linda Ron­stadt and Johnny Cash.

Ash­ley Campbell, also a mu­si­cian, made a quest ap­pear­ance and said mak­ing the al­bum was “ther­a­peu­tic.”

Campbell was among a wave of coun­try cross­over stars that in­cluded Johnny Cash, Roy Clark and Kenny Rogers, and like many of his con­tem­po­raries, he en­joyed suc­cess on tele­vi­sion.

Campbell had a weekly au­di­ence of some 50 mil­lion peo­ple for the “Glen Campbell Good­time Hour,” on CBS from 1969 to 1972. He gained new fans decades later when the show, fea­tur­ing his cheer­ful greet­ing “Hi I’m Glen Campbell,” was re­run on ca­ble chan­nel CMT.

“I did what my dad told me to do — ‘Be nice, son, and don’t cuss. And be nice to peo­ple.’ And that’s the way I han­dled my­self, and peo­ple were very, very nice to me,” Campbell told The Tele­graph in 2011.

He re­leased more than 70 of his own al­bums, and in the 1990s recorded a se­ries of gospel CDs. A 2011 farewell al­bum, “Ghost On the Can­vas,” in­cluded con­tri­bu­tions from Ja­cob Dy­lan, Rick Nielsen of Cheap Trick and Billy Cor­gan of Smash­ing Pump­kins.

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 some­how con­tin­ued to shine as his mind un­rav­elled.

The song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” won a Grammy for best coun­try song in 2015 and was nom­i­nated for an Os­car for best orig­i­nal song.

Campbell’s mu­si­cal ca­reer dated back to the early years of rock ’n’ roll. He toured with the Champs of “Te­quila” fame when the group in­cluded two singers who formed the pop­u­lar ’70s duo Seals & Crofts. He was part of the house band for the ABC TV show “Shindig!” and a mem­ber of Phil Spec­tor’s “Wreck­ing Crew” stu­dio band that played on hits by the Ronettes, the Right­eous Broth­ers and the Crys­tals. He played guitar on Frank Si­na­tra’s “Strangers In the Night,” the Mon­kees’ “I’m a Be­liever” and Elvis Pres­ley’s “Viva Las Ve­gas.”

“We’d get the rock ’n’ roll guys and play all that, then we’d get Si­na­tra and Dean Martin,” Campbell told The Associated Press in 2011. “That was a kick. I re­ally en­joyed that. I didn’t want to go nowhere. I was mak­ing more money than I ever made just do­ing stu­dio work.”

A share­crop­per’s son, and one of 12 chil­dren, he was born out­side of De­light, Arkansas, 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 just four when he learned to play guitar. As a teenager, anx­ious to es­cape a life of farm work and un­paid bills, he moved to Al­bu­querque, New Mex­ico to join his un­cle’s band and ap­pear on his un­cle’s ra­dio show. By his early 20s, he had formed his own group, the Western Wran­glers, and moved to Los An­ge­les. He opened for the Doors and sang and played bass with the Beach Boys as a re­place­ment for Brian Wil­son, who in the mid-’60s had re­tired from tour­ing to con­cen­trate on stu­dio work.

“I didn’t go to Nashville be­cause Nashville at that time seemed one-di­men­sional to me,” Campbell told the AP. “I’m a jazzer. I just love to get the guitar and play the hell out of it if I can.”

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, and his chil­dren from pre­vi­ous mar­riages. He had 10 grand­chil­dren.


Glen Campbell’s ap­peal spanned coun­try, pop, tele­vi­sion and movies. A share­crop­per’s son who be­came a ma­jor coun­try mu­sic and TV star of the 1960s and 70s, died in Nashville Tues­day.

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