Whether it’s pure coincidence or destiny, the first recording of the song “Ghost on the Canvass” and Glen Campbell’s Alzheimer diagnosis occurred almost at the same time. In 2009, Paul Westerberg of the rock band The Replacements wrote the above-mentioned song. He ultimately recorded it that same year. It was also in 2009 when the “Galveston” singer first became aware of his illness while recording the album of the same name.
Campbell and his wife Kim decided to delay a little bit the announcement of his health condition though. The pronouncement was made official by the couple only in 2011. That was before the singer went on his farewell tour, Glen Campbell Goodbye. The said revelation was meant to aware the public and his fans, especially, of what he’s going through that time. This is for them to fully understand why the singer might be committing errors on the lyrics of the songs he’s singing or behave unpredictably. More importantly, the couple hoped to fight the social stigma of Alzheimer’s disease in support to those who are suffering from it.
“Ghost on the Canvass” is a song that primarily talks about a state “between and life.” It offers an image of one’s transformation into the afterlife. In various ways, the song mirrors Campbell’s current state of mind at that time. As the singer’s memory failed, he tends to slip into a different cognizance. Hence, it has been considered as “an analog to Campbell’s mental state.” In the song’s music video, Westerberg who originally recorded “Ghost on the Canvass,” makes an appearance. There, he played the role of a painter who would create images of Campbell’s memories. Moreover, the “Southern Nights” singer is seen performing the song with his touring band. His three children, Cal, Ashley, and Shannon were likewise singing with him.
Ghost in the Canvass became Campbell’s sixty-first album. Its recording began in 2009, the same time he first learned about his illness. Meant to be his farewell studio release, the album’s production became known in March 2010. Notwithstanding his disease, the singer continued promoting the album through tour shows. In fact, Campbell played more than 100 shows during his Goodbye Tour. He played until such time he could no longer perform.
Upon the album’s release, Campbell wished to record yet another material. Not necessarily an entire album but a song, perhaps. Surprisingly, Campbell recorded not just a couple of songs but produced two albums in particular. Definitely his two final albums, See You There and Adios dropped in late 2012 and early 2013, respectively.
Watch the official music video for Glen Campbell’s “Ghost on the Canvass” below.
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An Analogue to Campbell's Mental State, Ghost on the Canvass, glen campbell, Paul Westerberg