August 8, 2017

Goodbye to Glen Campbell.



The great musician was 81, and we knew he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. From the obituary in Variety:
Born into a sharecropping family in a tiny town in southwestern Arkansas, Campbell was the seventh of 12 children. Picking up guitar at an early age, he left home at age 14 to pursue music... Out west, Campbell soon found himself an in-demand session musician... recording guitar parts for such varied acts as Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, the Monkees, Merle Haggard and Elvis Presley.

Campbell reached the height of his session player power in 1965, when he became a touring member of the Beach Boys — playing bass to compensate for the absent Brian Wilson — as well as contributing guitar parts to the group’s landmark “Pet Sounds” album...

... Campbell’s career experienced a sudden, dramatic upswing in 1967, when he recorded a rendition of John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind.”... Follow-up single “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was an even bigger hit.... [H]e began hosting a weekly CBS variety show, “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour”....

69 comments:

sparrow said...

"Wichita Lineman" is my favorite.

Ralph L said...

Mine too.

mccullough said...

True Grit

Annie C said...

After seeing how painfully long Alzheimer's can torture both the sufferer and their family, he may have been blessed by passing.

traditionalguy said...

I recall Several ladies that I knew in the late 60s would cry when they heard him sing Wichita Lineman. That impressed me.

Rick Turley said...

The recent documentary 'Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me' is well worth watching.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Wichita Lineman is one of the best crafted records ever. The song, arrangement, instrumentation, it's all just fantastic!

Fabi said...

Sorry to hear about Glen. It's nice to see a shout-out to John Hartford -- an under-appreciated songwriter.

Rick Turley said...

I'll add that Arkansas seems to be overrepresented when it comes to music talent - Glen Campbell, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, Rev. Al Green, K.T. Oslin, Levon Helm.....

Fabi said...

Glen was also a member of "The Wrecking Crew".

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wrecking_Crew_(music)

Ralph L said...

Hospital scene on the Sonny & Cher show: Glen sits up on the gurney "Howdy, I'm Glen Campbell."
Nurse Cher: "Sorry, we have no cure for that."

Now we do.
If there isn't abuse, neglect, or a personality change, how bad is it for the patient?

victoria said...

An original member of "the wrecking crew" and probably the best session guitarist ever. Lovely voice. He used to do the vocal demos for the established songwriters of the '60's, and the wrecking crew would do all the instruments. The group of musicians said that Glen would not be a session guitarist for long, that his voice was his ticket to the big time. Too true. Lovely, lovely voice. My favorite, "Wichita Lineman" Heavenly.


vicki from Pasadena

victoria said...

Shout out to Jimmy Webb, too. Wrote "Wichita Lineman". Hard to believe the man who wrote that loveliness also wrote "MacArthur Park."


BTW, see the documentary, "The Wrecking Crew" Glen is featured in it and it is a super documentary on the music scene in Los Angeles in the '50's and 60's.

Vicki from Pasadena

Fabi said...

"...probably the best session guitarist ever."

Chet Atkins, Larry Carlton, Jimmy Page, and Skunk Baxter to the white courtesy phones.

Jim Grey said...

His recorded songs are just a joy to sing along to.

Jason said...

So long Glen! You were one of the greats. And give my best to Tommy Tedesco!

Bay Area Guy said...

Good singer, good man. I didn't fully appreciate him when I was younger, but as I got older I did. Godspeed.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

BTW, see the documentary, "The Wrecking Crew" Glen is featured in it and it is a super documentary on the music scene in Los Angeles in the '50's and 60's.

Vicki from Pasadena


Seconded.

tcrosse said...

BTW, see the documentary, "The Wrecking Crew" Glen is featured in it and it is a super documentary on the music scene in Los Angeles in the '50's and 60's.

Thirded.

Brent said...

My favorite of all time. Played the album "Galveston" everyday for over a year. So thankful for his life and that he returned to the Lord before Alzheimers got him.
#tearsbutthankful

MadTownGuy said...

His version of "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress" is amazing.

Earnest Prole said...

Rest in Peace. Clips like this make a beautiful tombstone.

Ex-prosecutor said...

Joke told by Glen Campbell during a concert in Nashville @ 1970, with audience including Johnny Cash and Chet Atkins:

Teacher - "Jimmy, why is your hand up?"

Jimmy, jumping up and down, - "I have to go to the bathroom."

Teacher - "OK, you know where it is."

Jimmy, returning minutes later and desperate now - "I still can't find it!"

Teacher - "You know where it is, down the hall, just go!

Jimmy returns and again cries, holding his crotch, "I still can't find it."

Teacher, now irritated - "Johnny, will you show Jimmy where it is."

Johnny, as he and Jimmy return in minutes - "It's OK, he just had his underwear on backwards."

Better told by Glen Campbell than written by me - great delivery and huge laugh.



Etienne said...

There's some youtube videos of him and his brother singing, and one with his dad and mother singing. They might have had nothing, but they had each other.

Annie C said...

Ralph, for the person with alzheimers, they are aware they are losing theiir minds/memories in the beginning and I have witnessed, too often, the terror.

Later, not so much but even after five years sometimes a synapse will fire and they will realize all over again that they are lost and, as a dear man cried to me, "My mind is turning to mush and I can't stop it!"

Sorry to be a downer, but this one hits close. Thank you for your understanding.

Unknown said...

Also part of Gary Usher's would-be super group Sagittarius.

Brian wrote and produced a song for him, "Guess I'm Dumb" to try and start his solo career, but like all Brian Wilson outside productions, it stiffed. He guested on Al Jardine's most recent solo album duing sort of a semi-reprise of "Rhinestone Cowboy".

His last album was a (knowing) goodbye.

Scott said...

He could sell a song like nobody else.

Ralph L said...

Annie, my father has vascular dementia and has lived with me for the last 4 years. He has no stress that his memory is shot. But his personality and mood haven't changed, he's as short tempered as ever.

bwebster said...

I was a teenager when Glen Campbell became an overnight star, and all his hits are well-embedded in my psyche. He was unpretentious and enthusiastic, always sounded as though he was smiling while he was singing, and yet there always a bit of heartbreak in most of his songs. To this day, I can't hear or watch him sing without smiling a little.

R.J. Chatt said...

Galveston My favorite song by a very gorgeous looking Campbell.

EDH said...

As a young kid in the the 1960s I wanted Glen Campbell's side-swept bangs, but my hair was too curly.

Didn't stop me from trying my best with a hair dryer.

RIP

Michael K said...

"Hard to believe the man who wrote that loveliness also wrote "MacArthur Park."

I like McArthur Park. It brings back good times in the 70s for me. I like the Richard Harris better than Webb's.

Campbell was also an excellent golfer and an early investor in Lynx clubs which were the first to use peripheral wighting. PING were about the same time but the Ping putter was better known.

I never played with him but know people who did.

Humperdink said...

mccullough said: "True Grit"

One of the best westerns ever. I was so enamored with movie that wanted to get a Sharp's Carbine similar to the one that Campbell used in the film. A local gun auction had one. When the bidding hit $2500, I bailed.

rcocean said...

I vaguely remember him. He's awful in "True Grit", he right behind "Fabian" and Dylan as the worst actor ever in a Western.

Surprised to learn he was a from Arkansas. He always struck me as a West Texan who moved to Arizona or California at an early age. OTOH, Johnny Cash has always seemed completely Southern.

He seemed to be a good singer - in my unsophisticated view.

eddie willers said...

Wichita Lineman is one of the best crafted records ever

I bought the album for that song and it is now one of my Desert Island Discs. "Dreams Of The Everyday Housewife" is something else.

And MacArthur Park is such an unusual song that it is frequently on both the Worst Ever and Best Ever list. I rank it with Best Ever.

Jimmy Webb kept trying to get Richard Harris to quit saying MacArthur's Park since it is simply non possessive MacArthur, but to no avail. MacArthur's Park it is!

John said...

Of all the clips and performances I've ever seen of Glenn Campbell, you picked the best one by far.

I've probably watched it 50-60 times over the years.

The Wrecking Crew, a documentary about the crew that made pop music is available on Netflix. Well worth watching.

The book, The Wrecking Crew, is available via Ann's portal. I had long liked Glen Campbell but had never realized how versatile and talened he was until I saw the movie and read the book. I don't think I ever knew he was a Beach Boy, either.

Fantastic musician. Goodby Glen, your music will live on.

John Henry

John said...

For those that don't recognize it, the clip is from a series called "Old Country Reunion" which was a terrific show done by RFD TV. They would get a bunch of people areound and swap stories and sing songs for an hour.

In this clip you see Crystal Gayle, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, ray Stevens, Roy Clark and more.

In a longer verion of the clip it shows Waylon talking about how he could not get any attention in music and Glen would have all his old friends on the Good Time Hour which really helpd them get noticed. Then Waylon sings a nice rendition of Bob Wills is still the king.

Many of the full Reunion shows are on YouTube and well worth watching.

John Henry

richardsson said...

I think a lot of people underestimated Glen Campbell. I remembered his records and guitar playing on them, but knew nothing about his studio work. That is, until I saw an interview with Quincy Jones. They played a clip from his soundtrack for "In Cold Blood," and when they came back to Jones, he was laughing, and said, "Bet you'll never guess who played that guitar lick." The interviewer said, "I give up." Jones said, "That, was Glen Campbell." Jones went on to explain that in studio work, they pay to get the best and Glen Campbell was among the best. I got the feeling that was a running Quincy Jones prank.

The Toothless Revolutionary said...

Who was this guy?

No offense, but when much more of an obit needs to be quoted than created on-the-spot, then perhaps it's time to admit that you weren't exactly his biggest fan.

eddie willers said...

it's time to admit that you weren't exactly his biggest fan.

I seem to recall her saying she hated the line (and the very idea idea of) "That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch".

Tommy Duncan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Humperdink said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Will said...

I had the pleasure of playing golf with Glen many years ago and he never stopped quietly singing his songs, making it a memorable round.

Hugh Shannon said...

Galveston was my favorite, both because it's a great song and my grandmother was born outside Galveston in 1900 (the year of the great storm). Also, I got to see Billy Joel do a rendition of Wichita Lineman at the Songwriters Hall of Fame inducting Jimmy Webb. I'm not a big BJ fan, but it was an amazing performance and showed me why he is a star. I am a big Jimmy Webb fan--a lot of great songs by that man, most performed by the great Glen Campbell.

Pugsley the Pug said...

What an amazing talent. And to think that Glen was only one of the amazingly talented musicians in the Wrecking Crew. I, too, recommend that you watch the documentary about the Wrecking Crew lovingly made by Tommy Tadesco's son Denny Tadesco. I first knew of Glen from his TV variety show and thought of him exclusively as a Country artist. That changed whem I got from my aunt a Jan & Dean album from her collection whose liner notes stated that Glen had played guitar on the album. Then I found out that Glen had performed on a number of Beach Boys' songs as well as toured with them as a guitarist before he hit it big as a solo artist. A good ol' boy doing surf music! Rest in peace, Rhinestone Cowboy - you will be missed by us music aficiandos of the 1960's!

Pugsley the Pug said...

The Wrecking Crew film's website: http://www.wreckingcrewfilm.com

Humperdink said...

rcocean said: "I vaguely remember him. He's awful in "True Grit""

Makes sense to me.

Ritmo had a question: "Who was this guy?"

As reported on the news today, Campbell made over 70 albums. Seven zero.

Earnest Prole said...

she hated the line (and the very idea idea of) "That makes me tend to leave my sleeping bag rolled up and stashed behind your couch"

If he's sleeping in a bag on her couch then he isn't sleeping in her bed.

Humperdink said...

Brent said: "So thankful for his life and that he returned to the Lord before Alzheimers got him."

Amen to that.

DanTheMan said...

>>I vaguely remember him. He's awful in "True Grit""

Of course. And the girl was just awful, too. The guy with the eye patch was *really* lousy...

I guess that's why it was such a flop. So bad they remade it, hoping everybody would forget the old one, right?

Michael K said...

"If he's sleeping in a bag on her couch then he isn't sleeping in her bed."

No, I think it's rolled up waiting for him to leave.

Bix Cvvv said...

Alzheimer's is rough. One of the hopeful days we imagine as currently proceeding in their scientific and stately way in Silicon Valley is so hopeful because of the sunny Alameda County hope we all want to have about the future bots who will not get Alzheimers, never ever ever, as Taylor Swift (like Dylan, her slightly older doppelgänger, and also a bot favorite) would say. In a book I did not write a character was vegetarian until a certain type of animal attacked and tried to eat her child (lots of blood and basic animal fear but all the humans survived and the animal escaped) - the author - an heir of Eddison's favorite, Webster - describes her eyes while she is eating, the next day, her first meal with meat in many years - you do not want to read that description if you do not have a strong faith in God. That animal was Alzheimer's. If you know someone affected by this vicious disease, try and help.

Humperdink said...

Some serious guitar here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-sExIVBVaw

And with some added instruments (William Tell Overture):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUBhE00h9U0

rcocean said...

"I guess that's why it was such a flop. So bad they remade it, hoping everybody would forget the old one, right?"

So, you read something you disagreed with and you had 2 alternatives.

1) Write how Campbell was great in "True Grit" despite all the criticism.

2) Make dumb snark about how any criticism of "True Grit" or anyone in it, is invalid because it was box office hit.

How unsurprising you chose Option 2. Yawn.

If Althouse had an ignore button, I'd push it.

rcocean said...

One amazing thing about the intertubes is that you meet all kinds of people.

You meet all those people who liked "Ishtar" or who'd rather eat a big Mac than a $100 gourmet meal, or who think Adam Sandler is the funniest guy in the world. Or the kind of people who buy all that junk on TV infomericials.

And what's worst, is they're always snarky and trollish about what they like.

Humperdink said...

Or what they vaguely remember but dislike anyway.

traditionalguy said...

I hate to tell you, but Glen had Scots Irish disease, and a bad case of it.

The Godfather said...

He was a fine singer. I didn't know how good a guitar player he was until just now. He faced Alzheimer's bravely and with dignity. Although I am no fan of "True Grit" (the movie), he did a creditable job. I will miss him -- I'll keep hearing him on SXM radio, but there'll never be anything new.

I like "Gentle on my Mind" as Glen sings it, but if you listen to the words, it's pretty dreary. The narrator says he likes the girl because she doesn't require a commitment of any kind from him (no forgotten words or bonds), so he tends to leave his sleeping bag rolled up behind her couch for awhile, but later he's back in the hobo jungle where he's remembering her, fondly, but she's not part of his life, and he doesn't say he's planning to go back to her, at least not permanently. Surprising that a song with that philosophy is so popular -- I think Glen bewitched us all with the way he sang it. And that in itself is testimony to his talent.

JAORE said...

re: True Grit

He joked something along the line that his acting was so bad that the contrast is what propelled John Wayne to his Oscar.

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DanZenner said...

I remember that Glen Campbell sang an a cappella version of the National Anthem at the 1975 All Star Game in Milwaukee, which was great. There were 17 future Hall of Famers on the rosters that day, so 18 if you include Glen Campbell.

M Jordan said...

Pressing F for Respects.

F.

Robin Eatmon said...

Glen Campbell was also part of the golden era of American music on TV. Songwriters John Hartford and Jim Webb became household names due to The Smothers Brothers and The Glen Campbell Shows. Galveston was my favorite Webb song sung by Campbell. Glen Campbell publically faced Alzheimers with great dignity. Don't blame Campbell for a poor performance in a movie...blame the director for letting it happen. Campbell was one of the great ones!

Mike said...

The Glen Campbell Show
The Bobby Goldsboro Show
The Smothers Brothers Show
Flip Wilson Show
Tony Orlando Show
Sonny and Cher Show
The Donny and Marie Osmond Show

Ah the seventies on TV were full of music. Maybe Flip doesn't belong on that list.

RIP Glen. Helluva guitarist.

Mike said...

And Hee Haw. Can't forget all the great music and comedy on that show!

John said...

Now this ain't no shit:

Summer of 69, when Galveston was at its peak, I was cruising the Mediterranean with 180 of my closest friends.

The cruiser USS Galveston was also cruising the med at the same time and came alongside us from time to time for rearming. As they had an admiral embarked, they also had a ships band. Whenever they came alongside, as they slid into place to receive the transfer wires (Rub Your Balls With Graphite) the band would always play Galveston.

John Henry

John said...

Mike,

A lot of full Hee-Haw episodes are on YouTube. Almost 50 years old, some of them, and they hold up amazingly well. RFD-TV still airs it on Sunday nights and when my cable company used to carry the channel, I would always watch.

Roy Clark is a classic in his own right and an amazing musician. Listen to his version of Folsom Prison. Or Him and Glen Campbell on Ghost Riders.

There is also an interesting documentary about how the show was made. Most of the entire season was shot in a couple weeks each year then edited together.

John Henry

TDP said...

Glen Campbell was my inspiration for playing guitar. As a kid, I was given his album, "The Amazing 12-String Guitar of Glen Campbell" and was, well, amazed. He was true artist.

Music and life was so much simpler and better then. Politics had no yet infected all aspects of our life and we were free. We were just enjoying life in what was then a much more free nation.

I remember being on the river on a Saturday night with a bunch of other kids. I had a transistor radio that was tuned to the local "Top-40" station. Glen Campbell's "Gentle On My Mind" came on, we all sang along. It was twilight. We had a fire going my girlfriend was sitting next to me and the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.

Life was achingly beautiful.

There are no selfies, no video and no texts or Facebook posts of that evening and for that I'm forever grateful.

RIP Glen Campbell. Thank you.

Ryna Safitri said...

I am not worthy, but a humble homage to one of my idols https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCDti24Uras