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.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”

Amy Har­ris, Invision file

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.

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