We lost another legend as country music superstar succumbed to Alzheimer’s at the age of 81.
Long before he had his first solo hit, the man from Arkansas who dropped out of school at age 14 to pursue a career as a guitarist solidified himself as a member of the famed “Wrecking Crew”, a group of session musicians who would appear on a plethora of hits throughout the 1960’s. This would include a slew of songs for Elvis Presley including “Viva Las Vegas” and more notably “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds, “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” by the Righteous Brothers and “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard. He would also tour with the Beach Boys, replacing Brian Wilson whose notorious anxiety caused him to breakdown.
Campbell had already proved that he could play the guitar with the best of them and sing with skill too. Now it was time for him to strike out on his own.
In late 1967, Campbell would hit #2 on the Country Charts with “By the Time I get to Phoenix”, a song with enough pop flavor to hit #12 on the Mainstream chart. Other top Country hits would follow that have mid-level success but the song that really crossed him over as a musical force was “Wichita Lineman” a song that went #1 on both the Country & Western and Adult Contemporary Chart while reaching the top five in the Mainstream version. He would repeat that feat in 1969 with “Galveston” and in the process cement himself as the king of pop flavored country.
Campbell would foray into acting, co-starring in the 1969 John Wayne film, True Grit and would also have his own variety television show in the early 70’s, but while he was still churning out top ten hits in the Country Genre, his overall mainstream appeal had receded. This would change in 1975 with his most popular and most enduring song, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, which would become his first number one hit in the Mainstream Charts. He would go to the top again with “Southern Nights” the year later.
While that marked the apex of his career, Campbell would still produce hits in the Country genre. He announced his battle with Alzheimer’s in 2011 and went on a farewell tour shortly after, complete with the highly respected documentary of his battle with the disease, “I Am Me”.
We here at Notinhalloffame.com mourn the loss of Glen Campbell and we offer our condolences to his friends, family and fans at this time.