The world has lost a great talent with the passing of musician, songwriter, presenter and actor, Glen Campbell. He was 81 years of age.
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.
Glen is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville, TN; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; ten grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald.
Campbell released more than 70 albums during a remarkable 50 years in show business. He sold 45 million records during his lifetime. Among the 70 albums there were 12 Gold albums, four Platinum albums and one Double-platinum album.
He also won many awards including five Grammy Awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame honors and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, seven Academy of Country Music awards and a 1998 Pioneer Award recognition, three American Music Awards, two Country Music Association Awards and a 2005 Country Music Hall of Fame induction, three Gospel Music Association Dove Awards.
The Final Years
In a sad twist, the man who created so many memories for millions of people slowly lost touch with his own memories.
In June 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six months earlier. According to his family, symptoms of the disease had been occurring for years, becoming more and more evident as the years progressed.
Campbell went on a final “Goodbye Tour”, with three of his children joining him in his backup band; his final show was on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California. During the tour’s concerts and rehearsals, Campbell would often forget which songs he was supposed to play, repeating them after finishing a performance. He also frequently had to be reminded that he did have the disease, and relied on a teleprompter to remember the lyrics to most songs. Newer songs from his later albums had to be scrapped altogether, as Campbell struggled to remember the chords and lyrics for these. He performed “Rhinestone Cowboy” as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012, his final televised on-stage performance.
In April 2014, news reports indicated that Campbell had become a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility. On March 10, 2015, NBC News reported that Campbell could no longer speak for himself.
On March 8, 2016, the Rolling Stone reported that Campbell was living in a Nashville memory care facility and that he was in the “final stages” of his disease. – Wiki
A Personal Reflection
Back in February 2008 I took my then 11 year old daughter, Emily, to see Glen Campbell performing with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) at the Burswood Theatre in Perth. The concert was absolutely amazing.
I’d never really been a big Glen Campbell fan before seeing his show but many of his songs have helped fill out the soundtrack of my life. At that time I was working in radio and I was asked by WASO if I’d like the opportunity to interview Glen’s daughter Debby on 98five Sonshine FM just before Christmas 2007. At that stage Debby was travelling and singing with her dad on some of his tours.
I enjoyed chatting to Debby (You can hear the interview by using the audio player at the bottom of this post.) and when I was asked if I’d like to go to the show I was more than happy to accept.
Having WASO involved always meant that it would be a spectacular show but it was even more impressive than I could have hoped.
Glen Campbell took to the stage and opened with Gentle On My Mind then Galveston and then continued to roll out hit after hit. His voice was in fine form but his guitar playing was extraordinary. Seeing him play the William Tell Overture on his 12 string electric guitar was breath taking. When he perched the guitar on top of his head and continued playing at lightning speed I just thought to myself that a guy of his age really shouldn’t be able to do that. He was 71 years of age at the time but apparently no one had told his fingers that.
When Debby was introduced I was ready for a change of pace and possibly some good vocals. She blew me away. She has a magnificent voice and it amazes me that she isn’t recording and performing full time. As well as doing a few songs on her own she joined her father for a number of duets. Brilliant.
The song I was really wanting to hear was the first one after intermission. As soon as the orchestra started playing I knew that Witcheta Lineman was on the way. It’s a song I love and the performance didn’t dissapoint.
Towards the end of the evening Glen Campbell walked on stage with some bagpipes which he said are the most temperamental instrument he’d ever tried to master. He used the bagpipes to great effect during a moving rendition of Amazing Grace.
The evening was completed with a fantastic version of McArthur Park. It’s an incredible piece of music and the orchestra really got the opportunity to show just how good they are by performing faultlessly.
Oh … and about me saying that I’d never really been a big Glen Campbell fan … I sure am now. I added some of his music to my collection right away and always enjoy listening to such an enormously talented man.
Glen Campbell will be sadly missed by millions.