SINGER, ACTOR GLEN CAMPBELL DIES AT 81
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.
Glen Campbell, the affable superstar singer of “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Wichita Lineman” whose appeal spanned country, pop, television and movies, is dead at 81. He waged a public, six-year battle with Alzheimer’s at the end of a six-decade career.
Campbell’s family said the singer died Tuesday morning in Nashville. Campbell announced in June 2011 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,” Dolly Parton said. “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.”
In the late 1960s and well into the ’70s, the Arkansas native was seemingly 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 nomination. He twice won albumof-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, “Adios,” which was released in June, featured songs that Campbell loved to sing but never recorded, including tunes made famous by Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt and Johnny Cash.
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 albums. 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 unraveled. 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.”
Glen Campbell performs in 2012 at the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tenn. Campbell, who died Tuesday, won five Grammys, sold over 45 million records, and had 12 gold albums and 75 chart hits, including two No. 1 songs.