Another great soul left the world Tuesday when Country star Glen Campbell lost his battle with Alzheimer’s at the age of eighty-one. A brief and heartfelt message posted on the Glen Campbell official website reads:
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Campbell’s fifty-plus years in the business has produced such legendary works as “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975), “Gentle on my Mind” (1967), and “By the Time I get to Phoenix” (1967). Born April 22, 1936, in Billstown, Arkansas, he was the seventh of twelve children. He began his musical career at four, playing on a five-dollar guitar purchased from a mail order catalog.
The “Rhinestone Cowboy’s” long career produced more than seventy albums, and in 1967 he made history by winning four Grammys. In 1968, he took home the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year award. Many remember his television show, the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which aired between 1969 and 1972. In 1969, Campbell starred alongside the Duke himself in True Grit and sang the title song for the film.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Campbell and a host of other musicians formed what is fondly known as the Wrecking Crew. They used their incredible talent to back up other artists in the studio. He played on several recordings including tracks for Ricky Nelson, Nat King Cole, Elvis Presley, The Monkees, Frank Sinatra, and Merle Haggard. Between 1964 and 1965, Campbell toured with the Beach Boys as a temporary replacement for Brian Wilson, who had briefly retired after suffering from panic attacks.
Drummer Hal Blaine of the Wrecking Crew told The Guardian Campbell “was one of those great guitarists who could hear a part once and had it down pat. Arrangers just loved that he could play off-the-wall solos, just the wildest sounds you ever heard.”
In 1965, Campbells’ song “Universal Soldier” reached number 45 on the Hot 100. When asked about the song’s pacifist message, Campbell reportedly said, “people who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung.”
In 2011 Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He went on a farewell tour with three of his children in 2012. In 2013, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was recorded in his last session. Although his final album, “Adios,” was created in 2012-13, it wasn’t released until April 2017. Campbell passed away on Tuesday in a facility for Alzheimer’s patients in Nashville, Tennessee.
Social media was abuzz with condolences and praise for the legendary musician.
Dolly Parton, the star of the movie “Rhinestone Cowboy” along with Sylvester Stallone tweeted, “Glen Campbell was one of the greatest voices of all time. I will always love you, Glen!”
Glen Campbell was one of the greatest voices of all time. I will always love you, Glen! pic.twitter.com/LQFEWA42lF
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) August 8, 2017
Extremely sad to hear that Glen Campbell has passed away. My prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family.
— Blake Shelton (@blakeshelton) August 8, 2017
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
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) August 8, 2017
Saddened by the passing of Glen Campbell, a great entertainer, a great man & a great Arizonan – thanks for the memories!
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) August 8, 2017