By Sean Smith
The music industry lost one of its biggest legends this week with the passing of Glen Campbell. The “Rhinestone Cowboy” singer passed away on Tuesday in Nashville after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He was 81.
In June 2011, Glen Campbell sat down for an interview with People to announce that he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease around the start of that year. At the same time, Campbell announced that he was setting out on a farewell tour. That tour was originally slated to run for about a month. However, the popularity of the show turned it into a final run that lasted for over a year.
Glen Campbell Interview 2011:
Discusses Battle With Alzheimer’s Disease, Final Tour and New Album
By the early 1960’s, Campbell had made his way out to Los Angeles and became an accomplished session musician. In the year of 1963 alone, he wrote in his autobiography that he played on 586 published songs. He played for the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, and the Beach Boys.
Glen Campbell caught a major break in 1964 when Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys took a break from the group.. Campbell filled in for Wilson during the band’s live shows until early 1965. In that same year, Campbell got his first solo recognition on the charts. His recording of “Universal Soldier” got to #45 on the charts.
However, Glen Campbell’s first major hit came two years later in 1967 when he released “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.” It reached number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and won two Grrammy Awards. In 1968 he released another of his big country hits with “Wichita Lineman.”
“By The Time I Get TO Phoenix”
Also in 1968, Glen Campbell took his first foray into television when he guest hosted the variety program The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour. That successful experience afforded Campbell the opportunity to host his own show on CBS, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, from 1969 to 1972. His connections in the music industry allowed him to book such popular musical acts as The Beatles, the Monkees and Johnny Cash to name just a few. He also starred in the 1969 feature film True Grit, alongside John Wayne.
All in all, Glen Campbell has been and will always be remembered for his contributions to both country and pop music. In 2012 he was awarded the prestigious Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and just last year Campbell was recognized by the Academy of Country Music with their Career Achievement Award.
So with the somber news of Glen Campbell’s passing earlier this week, we take a moment to recall his life and many contributions to the music industry. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time.