Friday, March 2, 2012

Because of Alzheimer’s Disease taking over him, he has recorded his last album and performed at his last concert. He was the first country western star to have a hit song crossover into the popular record charts and he looks like me, so they say. He is the legend Glen Campbell. He also received his 6th Grammy award this year for a lifetime achievement of songs we all could sing along to.
He is currently on tour that is scheduled to be his last tour. His performances are still sold out when he does perform because he calls it his “Good bye” tour. He is now 75 years old and diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. So, after 21 top forty hits, and selling nearly 50 Million records, the Rhinestone Cowboy is riding into the sunset. His three youngest children are performing with him on tour. They are attractive and handsome.
Cal on drums, Shannon on guitar and his 25 year old daughter Ashley on banjo are accessories to his experience and raw talent. You can tell he loves that they are right there on stage performing with him. It was noticed that at one concert he played his hit “Galveston” and right after the song was done he started playing it again as if no one heard it that night so far. Alzheimer’s.
Ashley has been noticing his forgetfulness since she was in high school. She misses mostly some of his great guitar riffs and lead he used to put into earlier performances. Now she watches them on You Tube. With the help of a teleprompter feeding him the words to his songs, he rarely makes a mistake during a performance with that kind of help.
With his wife Kim at home , he has to be reminded that he has the desease. Typically as with all people that have the disease, he struggles with the present and remembers more the past. He is one of 12 children of an Arksansas share cropper, Glen first picked up a Guitar at age 4 and was a natural. By the early 60’s he was in Los Angeles, although he couldn’t read music, Campbell quickly became one of the most sought after artists in the city.
One of an elite group of studio musicians known as “the wrecking crew.” in 1963 alone He performed on nearly 600 songs for other artists. He played guitar for Frank Sinatra’s Strangers In The Night album. Played for the Monkey’s with the recently deceased Davy Jones on the song, I’m a Believer. Played with the Beach Boys Would’t It be Nice and many of their recordings.
When Brian Wilson, father of the successful Wilson Sisters, took off, Glen filled in for him at Beach Boys performances for about 6 months. Glen shared that it was crazy because he had to sing in a high voice but play the bass guitar parts to the songs but he enjoyed being a Beach Boy for awhile.
In 1967 his solo career took off with the album and song, “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” He won 4 Grammy’s that year and was called Country Music’s first cross over star. The hits kept coming and he never considered himself a country Western Star; just a guy who liked to tell a story through music. Then he became the Smother’s Brother’s summer replacement show on TV and all of America fell in love with him. He never realized the power of television until then.
He had his own show that ran for 4 years where he sang along greats like Johnny Cash,
Stevie Wonder, Bob Hope, Ray Charles, Dion Warwick and Tammy Wynett to name a few. It all led to a starring role in the 1969 film True Grit. He said to John Wayne, “I never acted before.” and John said, ” You belong in a western.” John won the Oscar for that film.
His biggest hit came in 1975 with Rhinestone Cowboy and was his number one record. He then went through a wild period. At age 44 he had a very public affair with Tanya Tucker age 21 and dabbled in cocaine, other drugs and alcohol. By the time he met his current wife who was a Rockette in Radio City Music Hall, he had 5 children, and 3 marriages and all his addictions. Now he is clean and can hardly remember his vices. Yes, we would like to all forget our vices.
His current album is called Ghost On The Canvas and will be his last album.

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