Farewell Glen Campbell

Glen-Campbell

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.

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An Incredible Adventure

If you’re interested in finding out more, head to Ride for Compassion.

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Missed Out Again

At this time each year, most of Australia celebrates the Queen’s Birthday with a day off work. It’s also the time that the Queen’s Birthday honours list is announced. This year almost 900 Australians have been recognised for their contributions to the community in a variety of fields. As well as the many famous names on the list, there are many who have just been working behind the scenes to make their community and the world a better and more interesting place.

Another thing that happens each year at this time is that people feign surprise that they’re not on the list. Many joke about missing out again or searching the names on the list only to find they haven’t been included.

The truth is, most of us will never receive recognition from the Queen.

While we may be making a difference in our own way, most of us won’t be receiving any kind of letter or medal from Her Majesty with her congratulations and thanks.

So where do we get our recognition?

I have to admit that while I think it would be a great honour, I’m not particularly concerned that I’m not on the list. The things I do for the benefit of others are not done to receive recognition, but if that recognition comes, I’m happy for it to come from people less royal. A simple thanks from those who receive kindness is often enough, even though the kindness is not done for any return whatsoever.

I always appreciate it when those close to me – family, friends, colleagues – recognise any efforts I may make. I don’t need to see my name in lights but an occasional word or two that lets me know I’m on the right track is always appreciated.

So who is it for you?

Where do you want to find recognition? Who do you want noticing the efforts you make at work, in the community or even at home? Is there a significant person in your life whose words bring affirmation?

Sometimes the affirmation and encouragement we yearn for never arrives. Maybe it’s not the Queen’s list on which you’d like to see your name appear but someone closer to home. Is there someone from whom you’d love to hear the words, “well done”?

Life can be difficult when we yearn for the kind of approval that never comes. Often it can be a parent or another significant person in our lives who has never taken the time to put their hand on a shoulder to speak words of kindness and recognition.

Thankfully, we don’t have to receive recognition to continue doing good. There is a kind of recognition that far outweighs any earthly honours list. That recognition doesn’t just come with a medal and a title but with an imperishable inheritance.

Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. – Colossians 3:23-24

While having people see our work and encourage us is often welcome and helpful, if we choose to follow Jesus and get involved in his kingdom work, there’s something far greater at stake. If you aren’t receiving recognition from the Queen or from those closer to you, don’t give up. Your labours are not in vain.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. – Galations 6:9

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Going the Distance

It seemed like a strange thing to do for a young man who had never really been interested in any kind of sport. Riding over four and a half thousand kilometres across Australia was surely the domain of fanatical cyclists yet there I was, an overweight guy in my mid-twenties getting ready to pedal from Perth to Canberra with around a dozen other cyclists.

That was thirty years ago.

Thankfully I made the distance and loved it so much I did the same fund-raising ride the following year. Two years after that I cycled from Perth to Adelaide. Some years later I also undertook rides from Perth to Sydney and then from Perth to Hobart.

So far I’ve cycled across the Nullarbor five times.

I’ve tackled the ride in my twenties, thirties and forties but I haven’t attempted it in my fifties. That all changes next year when, at the age of 55, I’ll be back on my bike for another crossing of our wide, brown land. The thought of taking to the roads again both terrifies and thrills me.

So, what’s getting me back on my bike after all these years? For the last three and a half years I’ve been working for Compassion, a Christian international holistic child development organisation.

I’ve visited Compassion’s work in 7 of the 25 developing countries we serve and I’ve met many children living in extreme poverty who are being released from poverty in Jesus’ name. I recall the faces of children like little Ammanuel in Ethiopia as his mother stood in the small room with its dirt floor that is their home.

She told me through her tears that neither of them would still be alive today if it weren’t for Compassion. That compels me to do whatever I can to bring hope to more children.

The Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast will see around 25 cyclists and their support crew travel over 4300 kilometres from Perth, Western Australia to Newcastle, New South Wales. There’ll be 28 days of riding an average of just over 150 kilometres with the biggest days reaching almost 200 kilometres.

There’s no denying that my ageing body won’t find the journey as easy as it did thirty years ago but I’m looking forward to cycling into Newcastle in October next year.

I’m still looking for some team members, both cyclists and support crew, who might like to join me on what will be an amazing adventure. So, if you’re looking to stretch yourself and to make a difference for the most vulnerable people in our world, children living in poverty, get in touch either through my Contact Page, leave a comment on this post, or head to the Ride for Compassion page. Registrations are now open.

Compassion’s programs are delivered in partnership with local churches. These local congregations can best identify the specific needs of children in their community, supporting them through every stage of life, bringing lasting change to their families and communities. While Compassion is a distinctly Christian organisation, they assist children and their families living in poverty regardless of their beliefs, gender or background.

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Talking about a very big ride

I’ve been on my bike a bit more recently. I need to get fit. There are big plans ahead.

For just over three years I’ve been working for Compassion Australia in our Western Australian office. We run an annual fundraising ride of just over 500 km named Ride for Compassion, but next year we’re taking on a much bigger challenge with a ride from Perth, Western Australia to our head office in Newcastle, New South Wales.

The Ride for Compassion Coast to Coast will be a huge event that will make a major impact for children living in extreme poverty. We’re now at the point of wanting to attract suitable riders and support crew who would be happy to raise significant funds as well as undertake such an epic venture.

The ride will start on Saturday the 15th of September 2018. We will arrive at Compassion’s head office in Newcastle, NSW on Tuesday the 16th of October, having cycled over 4000 km. There’ll be 28 riding days and 4 rest days. The average riding distance for those riding days will be 150 km. Our longest day will be just under 200 km.

I have quite some experience with the ride aspect of the trip having cycled across Australia five times previously but knowing that this time will be in support of Compassion is an extra thrill for me.

I recently had the opportunity to return to my old workplace, Perth’s Christian radio station 98five, and be interviewed by longtime colleague and friend JD, about both our annual ride and next year’s Coast to Coast event.

You can hear our chat by clicking the play button on the audio player below.

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