For sure, Glen Campbell is living each day of his life in heaven like it’s his birthday. Certainly, his loyal followers and fans on earth too, are celebrating this special day in Campbell’s life.
He was born on April 22, 1936, in Delight, Arkansas. He was the seventh of twelve children to parents John and Carrie Campbell. As a child, he learned to play the guitar with the help of his uncle “Boo.” When Campbell was a teenager, he played in his uncle’s band after relocating to Albuquerque, N.M. But that was just the beginning of his musical journey. He later formed his own band which he named as the Western Wranglers.
Glen Campbell’s Rise to Fame
In 1960, Campbell decided to become a session musician, so he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream. Two years later, he released his debut album Big Bluegrass Special on Capitol Records. The album produced only one hit. Peaking at No. 20, “Kentucky Means Paradise” earned the singer his first Top 20 hit. He didn’t have any other record to match the said song until “Burning Bridges” was released. The latter served as the title track to his fifth studio album which came out in 1966.
The following year, his next album Gentle on My Mind was released which earned the tunesmith his first top-charting record. Subsequently, he scored his first No. 1 song from his succeeding album By the Time I Get to Phoenix. That song was no other than the album’s title track. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” peaked at No. 1 on the Canadian country chart while ending at No. 2 on the US country chart.
This was followed by a string of successful hits. Songs like “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Southern Nights,” and “Galveston” all reached massive success which helped Campbell gain wider popularity. All in all, the singer managed to produce nine top country hits and had over 45 million album sales.
Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosis
In 2011, the sad news about Campbell’s Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis broke. He continued performing and recording until then. Despite his condition, Campbell remained optimistic and bravely fought his illness.
“I know that I have a problem with that, but it doesn’t bother me. If you’re going to have it handed to you, you have got to take it, anyway. So that is the way I look at it.”
His Last Few Projects and Achievements
Even after Campbell was diagnosed with the disease, he managed to have his Goodbye Tour. It’s probably what he and his camp had thought of as the best and graceful way to end his musical journey. The show concluded on November 30, 2012. That same year, he was granted the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In September 2014, a documentary film Glen Campbell… I’ll Be Me was released which was accompanied by a five-song EP. Early the following year, a full album was dropped. The film bagged the prominent Gibson Music City/Music City Films Grand Jury Prize award at the Nashville Film Festival. Additionally, Campbell’s co-written song “I’m Gonna Miss You” won him the Best Country Song trophy at the Grammy Awards.
Campbell finally bid goodbye on August 8, 2017.