Glen Campbell (1936-2017)
April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017
Glen Campbell, the “Rhinestone Cowboy” country singer has passed away at the age of 81 following a battle with Alzheimer’s disease according to multiple reports.
Campbell’s career spanned more than half a century and charted over 80 hit songs. Some of his most popular songs included “Southern Nights”, “Galveston”, “Wichita Lineman” and “Rhinestone Cowboy”. Each of these hits reached No. 1 on the country charts and had success crossing over to the pop charts. Even with the massive success, he received in the country music world, Campbell never considered himself a country singer. “I’m not a country singer per se, I’m a country boy who likes to sing”.
Following the announcement of his death, Campbell’s daughter Ashley tweeted, “Heartbroken. I owe him everything I am, and everything I will ever be. He will be remembered so well and with so much love.”
Campbell was born in rural Arkansas to a poor family of 12 children in 1936. Growing up his family had very little but together they shared a love of music. At the age of 4, he began learning to play guitar. His love of music was so strong that his boyhood dream was to make it in the music industry.
His career began as a session musician with a recording group called The Wrecking Crew. During this period Campbell played on some of the most popular recordings of the time for singers including Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, and Nat King Cole. After playing on the recording of the Beach Boys critically acclaimed album “Pet Sounds”, Campbell toured with the band in 1964 and ’65.
After years as a session musician, Campbell was inspired to begin a solo career. In 1967 he released “Gentle on My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”. The songs would win Campbell two Grammy awards and helped propel him further into stardom.
Campbell’s success would continue throughout 1968 with the release of No. 1 songs “I Wanna Live” and “Wichita Lineman”.
In 1969, Campbell would begin an acting career starring alongside John Wayne in the film “True Grit” for which he also performed the film’s theme song. While his performance wasn’t critically acclaimed, it received mainly mixed reviews. In the years that followed, he would appear in other films and hosted “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour” variety show from 1969-1972.
Throughout his acting years, Campbell continued to release hit song after hit song. Following the cancellation of his variety show, he released “Rhinestone Cowboy”. The song was an award-winning hit that reached No. 1 and a signature song for the rest of his career.
During his greatest period of success, Campbell had admitted to struggling with drugs and alcohol. Eventually, he would get cleaned and summed up the experience by saying “Boy, I’ll tell you, they were some strange times in the ’60s and the ’70s. And yeah, I had to try some of it. It was a habit. Now I’m in a different place. … I’ve stopped drinking and cussing, and life is good.”
Campbell was married four times during his lifetime. After his third divorce, he began dating fellow country star, Tanya Tucker. It was during this time he met Kim Woolen who would eventually become his wife and longest lasting marriage. Campbell leaves behind his wife and 8 children from his different marriages.
Following the news of his death, celebrities have been expressing their condolences on social media.
Thank you @GlenCampbell for the artistry, grace & class you brought to country music. You were a shining light in so many ways.
— Brad Paisley (@BradPaisley) August 8, 2017
— Tim McGraw (@TheTimMcGraw) August 8, 2017
Thank you Glen Campbell for sharing your talent with us for so many yearsMay you rest in peace my friendYou will never be forgotten
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) August 8, 2017
RIP Glen Campbell, a true gentleman genius – You will forever be gentle on our minds!
— Ed Helms (@edhelms) August 8, 2017
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