Glen Campbell

American singer, songwriter, musician, television host, and actor Glen Campbell sadly passed awayAugust 8, 2017. He was born April 22, 1936 IN in Billstown, near Delight in Pike County, Arkansas, to John Wesley (a sharecropper of Scottish ancestry) and Carrie Dell (Stone) Campbell. He started playing guitar as a youth and he credited his uncle Boo for teaching him that instrument. In 1954, Campbell moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, to join his uncle’s band, known as Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. He also appeared there on his uncle’s radio show and on K Circle B Time, the local children’s program on KOB television. In 1958, Campbell formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.

In 1960, Campbell moved to Los Angeles to become a session musician and joined the Champs. Campbell had worked at publishing company American Music, writing songs and recording demos. Because of these demos Campbell was soon working as a session musician and became part of a group of studio musicians later known as the Wrecking Crew. Campbell played on recordings by Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ronnie Dove, and Phil Spector. In 1961, he left the Champs and sgned with Crest Records, a subsidiary of American Music and released The song, “Turn Around, Look at Me”. Campbell also formed the Gee Cees with former bandmembers from the Champs, performing at the Crossbow Inn in Van Nuys. They released the instrumental “Buzz Saw”. In 1962, Campbell released the songs “Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry” and “Kentucky Means Paradise”. In 1964 Campbell began to appear on television as a regular on Star Route, hosted by Rod Cameron, ABC’s Shindig!, and Hollywood Jamboree. he was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson, playing bass guitar and singing falsetto harmonies. In 1965, he released the song  “Universal Soldier” and played guitar on the Beach Boys’ 1966 album Pet Sounds, among other recordings. He also played bass for Ricky Nelson on a Far East tour.

Between 1966 and 1967, he collaborated with producer Al de Lort on the songs “Burning Bridges”, “Gentle on My Mind”, By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “I Wanna Live” and “Wichita Lineman”. Campbell also won four Grammy Awards for his performances on “Gentle on My Mind” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”. In 1967, Campbell was also the uncredited lead vocalist on “My World Fell Down” by Sagittarius. He also sung the 1969 song “True Grit” by composer Elmer Bernstein and lyricist Don Black, and co-starred in the movie True Grit, receiving nominations for the Academy Award for Best Song and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song and a nomination for Most Promising Newcomer.  His biggest hits in the late 1960s were: “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, and “Where’s the Playground Susie”. After he hosted a 1968 summer replacement for television’s The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour variety show, Campbell hosted his own weekly variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, from  1969 to 1972. Where he hosted major names in music on his show, including The Beatles (on film), David Gates, Bread, The Monkees, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, and Mel Tillis. At the height of his popularity, a 1970 biography by Freda Kramer, The Glen Campbell Story, was published. An album of mainly Webb-penned compositions, Reunion: The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was also released in 1974. 

in 1974 Campbell co-starred in a made-for-television movie, Strange Homecoming (1974), with Robert Culp and up-and-coming teen idol, Leif Garrett. He hosted a number of television specials, including 1976’s Down Home, Down Under with Olivia Newton-John. He co-hosted the American Music Awards from 1976–78 and headlined the 1979 NBC special Glen Campbell: Back to Basics with guest-stars Seals and Crofts and Brenda Lee. He was a guest on many network talk and variety shows, including: Donny & Marie, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Cher, the Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, The Merv Griffin Show, The Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack, DINAH!, Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and The Mike Douglas Show. In the mid-1970s, he had more hits with “Rhinestone Cowboy”, “Southern Nights”, “Sunflower” and “Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)”. Rhinestone Cowboy” continues to be used in TV shows and films, including Desperate Housewives, Daddy Day Care, and High School High. It was the inspiration for the 1984 Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone movie Rhinestone. From 1971 to 1983, Campbell was the celebrity host of the Los Angeles Open, an annual professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour.

From 1982 to 1983, he hosted The Glen Campbell Music Show and also made a cameo appearance in the 1980 Clint Eastwood movie Any Which Way You Can, for which he recorded the title song. In 1991, he provided the voice of the Elvis Presley sound-alike rooster Chanticleer in the Don Bluth film Rock-a-Doodle. In 1999, Campbell was featured on VH-1’s Behind the Music, A&E Network’s Biography in 2001. Campbell ranked 29th on CMT’s 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003. Campbell also made a techno/pop version of Rhinestone Cowboy in 2002 with UK artists Rikki & Daz and went to the top 10 in the UK with the dance version and related music video. In 2005, Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. in 2008 Campbell released his new album, Meet Glen Campbell Which covered tracks by artists such as Travis, U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jackson Browne, Foo Fighters and a cover of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life). Musicians from Cheap Trick and Jellyfish also contributed to the album. In 2011 Campbell released the album Ghost on the Canvas with contributions from Paul Westerberg (writer of the title track), The Wallflowers singer Jakob Dylan, Chris Isaak, Rick Nielsen and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.

 

Sadly in 2011 Glen Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s so he embarked on a final “Goodbye Tour”, with three of his children joining him in his backup band. His final show was in 2012 in Napa, California. After the end of the tour, Campbell entered the studio in his home town Nashville to record what would be his final album, Adiós, Campbell recorded, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”, which is featured in the 2014 documentary, Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, In 2015 Campbell and fellow songwriter Julian Raymond were nominated for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards. In 2016, during the 10th Annual ACM Honors, Keith Urban, Blake Shelton and others performed a medley of Glen Campbell’s songs in tribute to him. His wife Kim Campbell accepted the Career Achievement Award on his behalf. In April 2017, Campbell’s final album, Adiós, was announced, featuring twelve songs from his final 2012–13 sessions. The album was released on June 9, 2017.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell released more than 70 albums. He sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album. He placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, or Adult Contemporary Chart, of which 29 made the top 10 and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts. Campbell made history in 1967 by winning four Grammys in the country and pop categories. For “Gentle on My Mind”, he received two awards in country and western, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and received two awards in PoP. Three of his early hits later won Grammy Hall of Fame Awards (2000, 2004, 2008), while Campbell himself won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA’s top award as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. Wichita Lineman” (1968) was also selected as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century by Mojo magazine in 1997 and by Blender in 2001.

 

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