He was born Glen Travis Campbell and is a singer-songwriter and musician born in Delight, Arkansas. His middle name was given to him in honour of the country singer Merle Travis.
When he was young he started to play guitar without reading music and was a member of the Western Wranglers by the time he was 18. In 1958 he became a session musician and moved to Los Angeles where he was much in demand. During the 60s he was heard on hits songs by many artists including “Strangers in the Night” by Frank Sinatra , “I’m a Believer” by The Monkees and “You’ve Lost that Lovin’ Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers.
He became a member of The Beach Boys when he replaced Brian Wilson during illness in 1964 and 1965 and played on the Pet Sounds album. He was part of the group of session musicians that were famous at the time called “The Wrecking Crew” and were heard on Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” among others.
In the late 1960s he went on to pursue his solo career and it wasn’t until several albums and years later that he achieved his success. The hits that followed and brought him to stardom included “Wichita Lineman” which was voted by Mojo magazine as one of the greatest songs of the 20th Century, “Galveston” and “Where’s the Playground Susie?” He won Grammy Awards for “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” and “Gentle on my Mind”.
From 1969 to 1972 he had his own TV show called “Glen Campbell’s Goodtime Hour” with his guests including Neil Diamond, Eric Clapton, Linda Ronstadt and Bread. He moved into acting and appeared in films including “True Grit” and sang the theme song which was nominated for an Academy Award. He also had a cameo appearance in “Any Which Way You Can” and recorded the theme song.
Although his show was cancelled in 1972 he appeared in many TV specials and was always in demand as a guest in variety shows. His largest selling single was “Rhinestone Cowboy” which sold over 2 million copies and is featured in the movies Daddy Day Care and High School High as well as being the inspiration for Rhinestone .
He has had chart success with over 40 albums and has had chart hit singles as a solo artist, a member of groups and as a session musician. Although he had battled an alcohol problem which he said he had beaten, he served 10 days in jail in 2003 as a result of drink driving.
In 2005 he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
2008 came around and he returned to Capitol records and released Meet Glen Campbell, his first release with them in 15 years, where he covered songs from various popular artists such as Green Day, U2 and Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers.
Two years later in 2010 he announced Ghost on the Canvas as his farewell album which was issued in August 2011. That same year he made the announcement that at the beginning of the year he’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He sung his goodbye song “Rhinestone Cowboy” in February 2012 at the Grammy Awards and during that year was joined by three of his children when he embarked on his “Goodbye Tour”, with his final show being in November 2012.
His last song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” was recorded in 2013 and appeared on the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me the following year. It was reported that he had been admitted to a long-care treatment facility for Alzheimer’s in April 2014.
In 2o15 he was nominated at the 87th Academy Awards for Best Original Song with Julian Raymond and in 2016 at the 19th Annual ACM Honors he was awarded the Career Achievement Award, received by his wife, and a medley of his songs were sung by Blake Shelton and Keith Urban in tribute. In March 2016 a report was issued by Rolling Stone that he was in the final stages of the disease and had moved to a memory care facility in Nashville. He turned 80 the next month and in celebration the “Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years” was launched as a special edition show at City Winery in Nashville.
He passed away in August 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee, when he was 81 years old.
Glen Campbell Recordings
Southern Nights (Allen Toussaint)
Capitol 4376 S93475A (US 45)
The William Tell Overture (Gioachino Rossini)
Capital 4376 (S93526) (US 45)