Glen Campbell

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This article is about the country music singer. For other uses, see Glen Campbell (disambiguation).
Glen Campbell
Glen Campbell 1967.JPG
Campbell in 1967
Background information
Birth name Glen Travis Campbell
Born (1936-04-22) April 22, 1936 (age 80)
Delight, Arkansas, U.S.
Genres
Occupation(s)
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • actor
Instruments
Years active 1958–2013
Labels
Associated acts
Website www.glencampbellmusic.com

Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American rock and country music singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television from January 1969 through June 1972.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70 albums. He has sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA Gold albums, four Platinum albums and one Double-platinum album. He has placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, or the Adult Contemporary Chart, of which 29 made the top 10 and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts. Campbell's hits include his recordings of John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind"; Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", and "Galveston"; Larry Weiss's "Rhinestone Cowboy"; and Allen Toussaint's "Southern Nights".

Campbell made history in 1967 by winning four Grammys total, in the country and pop categories.[2] For "Gentle on My Mind", he received two awards in country and western, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" did the same in pop. Three of his early hits later won Grammy Hall of Fame Awards (2000, 2004, 2008), while Campbell himself won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA's top award as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. In 1969, actor John Wayne picked Campbell to play alongside him in the film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell sang the title song which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Early life[edit]

Glen Campbell was born in Billstown, a tiny community near Delight in Pike County, Arkansas, to John Wesley and Carrie Dell (Stone) Campbell.[3] He was the seventh son of 12 children. His father was a sharecropper of Scottish ancestry.[4][5] He started playing guitar as a youth and credits his uncle Boo for teaching him the guitar.[6]

In 1954, Campbell moved to Albuquerque to join his uncle's band known as Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys.[7] He also appeared there on his uncle's radio show[6] and on K Circle B Time, the local children's program on KOB television.[8] In 1958, Campbell formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.[7]

Career[edit]

1960–66: Early career[edit]

In 1960, Campbell moved to Los Angeles to become a session musician.[9][10] Around this time he joined The Champs. Campbell soon was in demand as a session musician, and was part of a group of studio musicians known as The Wrecking Crew.[10][11] During this period, he played on recordings by Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean,[9] Elvis Presley,[12] Frank Sinatra, and Phil Spector.[10][11]

By January 1961,[13] Campbell had found a daytime job at publishing company American Music, writing songs and recording demos.[6] In May 1961, he left The Champs[14] and was subsequently signed by Crest Records, a subsidiary of American Music. His first solo release, "Turn Around, Look at Me", was a moderate success, peaking at number 62 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1961,.[15] The Vogues' remake reached #7 on 17–24 August 1968, starting a year-long series of remakes for the quartet. Campbell also formed The Gee Cees with former bandmembers from The Champs, performing at The Crossbow Inn in Van Nuys.[16] The Gee Cees, too, released a single on Crest, instrumentals "Buzz Saw" with "Annie Had a Party", which did not chart.

In 1962, Campbell signed with Capitol Records.[17] After minor initial success with "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry", his first single for the label, and "Kentucky Means Paradise", released by The Green River Boys featuring Glen Campbell, a string of unsuccessful singles and albums followed.

From 1964 on, Campbell began to appear on television as a regular on Star Route, a syndicated series hosted by Rod Cameron,[18] ABC's Shindig!, and Hollywood Jamboree.[19]

From December 1964 to early March 1965, Campbell was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson.[9] He also played guitar on the group's Pet Sounds (1966) album, among other recordings. On tour, he played bass guitar and sang falsetto harmonies. In April 1966, he joined Ricky Nelson on a tour through the Far East, again playing bass.[20]

In 1965, he had his biggest solo hit yet, reaching number 45 on the Hot 100 with a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". Asked about the pacifist message of the song, he elected to assert that "people who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung."[21]

1967–72: Burning Bridges to The Goodtime Hour[edit]

When follow-up singles did not do well, and Capitol was considering dropping Campbell from the label in 1966, he was teamed with producer Al De Lory.[22] Together, they first collaborated on "Burning Bridges" which became a top 20 country hit in early 1967,[23] and the album of the same name. Campbell and De Lory collaborated again on 1967's "Gentle on My Mind", written by John Hartford, which was an overnight success. The song was followed by the bigger hit "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" later in 1967, and "I Wanna Live" and "Wichita Lineman" in 1968. Campbell won four Grammy Awards for his performances on "Gentle on My Mind" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix".

In 1967, Campbell was also the uncredited lead vocalist on "My World Fell Down" by Sagittarius, a studio group. The song reached number 70 on the Billboard Hot 100.[24]

The 1969 song "True Grit" by composer Elmer Bernstein and lyricist Don Black, and sung by Campbell, who co-starred in the movie, received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Song and the Golden Globe.

His biggest hits in the late 1960s were the songs written by Jimmy Webb: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", and "Where's the Playground Susie". An album of mainly Webb-penned compositions, Reunion: The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was released in 1974, but it produced no hit single records. "Wichita Lineman" (1968) was selected as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century by Mojo magazine in 1997 and by Blender in 2001.

After he hosted a 1968 summer replacement for television's The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour variety show, Campbell hosted his own weekly variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, from January 1969 through June 1972. At the height of his popularity, a 1970 biography by Freda Kramer, The Glen Campbell Story, was published.

Campbell performing at the Michigan State Fair, circa 1970

With Campbell's session-work connections, he hosted major names in music on his show, including the Beatles (on film), David Gates and Bread, the Monkees, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller, and Mel Tillis. Campbell helped launch the careers of Anne Murray and Jerry Reed, who were regulars on his Goodtime Hour program.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Campbell released a long series of singles and appeared in the movies True Grit (1969) with John Wayne and Kim Darby and Norwood (1970) with Kim Darby and Joe Namath.

1973–79: "Rhinestone Cowboy" and "Southern Nights"[edit]

After the cancellation of his CBS series in 1972, Campbell remained a regular on network television. He co-starred in a made-for-television movie, Strange Homecoming (1974), with Robert Culp and up-and-coming teen idol, Leif Garrett. He hosted a number of television specials, including 1976's Down Home, Down Under with Olivia Newton-John. He co-hosted the American Music Awards from 1976–78 and headlined the 1979 NBC special Glen Campbell: Back to Basics with guest-stars Seals and Crofts and Brenda Lee. He was a guest on many network talk and variety shows, including: Donny & Marie, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Cher, the Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, The Merv Griffin Show, The Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack, DINAH!, Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and The Mike Douglas Show. From 1982 to 1983, he hosted a 30-minute syndicated music show on NBC, The Glen Campbell Music Show.

In the mid-1970s, he had more hits with "Rhinestone Cowboy", "Southern Nights" (both U.S. number-one hits), "Sunflower" (U.S. number 39) (written by Neil Diamond), and "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)" (U.S. number 11).

"Rhinestone Cowboy" was Campbell's largest-selling single, initially with over 2 million copies sold. Campbell had heard songwriter Larry Weiss' version while on tour of Australia in 1974. The main phrase of Campbell's recording was included in Dickie Goodman's Jaws movie parody song "Mr. Jaws". Both songs were in the October 4, 1975 Hot 100 top 10. "Rhinestone Cowboy" continues to be used in TV shows and films, including Desperate Housewives, Daddy Day Care, and High School High. It was the inspiration for the 1984 Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone movie Rhinestone. Campbell also made a techno/pop version of the song in 2002 with UK artists Rikki & Daz and went to the top 10 in the UK with the dance version and related music video.

"Southern Nights", by Allen Toussaint, his other number one pop-rock-country crossover hit, was generated with the help of Jimmy Webb, and Jerry Reed, who inspired the famous guitar lick introduction to the song, which was the most-played jukebox number of 1977.

From 1971 to 1983, Campbell was the celebrity host of the Los Angeles Open, an annual professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour.

1980–present: Later career and Country Music Hall of Fame induction[edit]

Campbell performing in Texas, January 2004
  • In January 2013, Campbell recorded his final song, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You". The song, which is featured in the 2014 documentary, Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me, was released on September 30, 2014, with the documentary following on October 24.[31][32] On January 15, 2015 Campbell and fellow songwriter Julian Raymond were nominated for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards.

Personal life[edit]

Relationships and children[edit]

Campbell has been married four times and is the father of five sons and three daughters, ranging in year of birth from 1956 to 1986. Campbell's eldest daughter is Debby, from his marriage (1955–59) to Diane Kirk.[33] After divorcing Kirk, Campbell married Billie Jean Nunley, a beautician from Carlsbad, New Mexico, who gave birth to Kelli, Travis, and Kane. Billie Campbell filed for divorce in 1975 and their divorce was final in 1976. Shortly after that, he married singer Mac Davis's second wife, Sarah Barg, in September 1976. They had one child named Dillon and divorced three weeks after Dillon's birth in 1980.[34]

Immediately after his divorce from Barg, Campbell began a relationship with fellow country artist Tanya Tucker.[35] The relationship was marked by frequent tabloid gossip and articles. The couple recorded a number of songs together, including the single "Dream Lover".

Campbell has been married to Kimberly "Kim" Woollen since 1982.[36][37] The couple met on a blind date in 1981 when Woollen was a Radio City Music Hall "Rockette". Together, they have three children: Cal, Shannon, and Ashley.[38] All three have joined Campbell on stage since 2010 as part of his touring band.[39] Campbell, who was raised in the Church of Christ,[40] joined a Baptist church in Phoenix along with his wife.[41] In a 2008 interview, they said that they have been adherents of Messianic Judaism for two decades.[42]

Alcohol and drug use[edit]

Campbell faced alcoholism and cocaine addiction during his career.[43][44]

Political views[edit]

On The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour television show, Campbell avoided political topics.[45][46][47] Around this time, he described himself in interviews as "a registered Democrat but I voted Republican a few times"[48][49][50] and he performed in support of both Republican and Democratic politicians.[49][51][52] Campbell performed the National Anthem at the 1980 Republican National Convention[53] and continued to make a number of campaign appearances for Republican candidates during the 1980s and 1990s.[54][55][56]

Alzheimer's diagnosis[edit]

In June 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six months earlier.[57] According to his family, symptoms of the disease had been occurring for years, becoming more and more evident as the years progressed.

Campbell went on a final "Goodbye Tour", with three of his children joining him in his backup band;[58][59] his final show was on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California.[60] During the tour's concerts and rehearsals, Campbell would often forget which songs he was supposed to play, repeating them after finishing a performance. He also frequently had to be reminded that he did have the disease, and relied on a teleprompter to remember the lyrics to most songs. Newer songs from his later albums had to be scrapped altogether, as Campbell struggled to remember the chords and lyrics for these. He performed "Rhinestone Cowboy" as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012, his final televised on-stage performance.[61]

In April 2014, news reports indicated that Campbell had become a patient at an Alzheimer's long-term care and treatment facility.[62][63] On March 10, 2015, NBC News reported that Campbell could no longer speak for himself and that two of his children, Debby and Travis, had sought legal action against Campbell's wife Kim, with the assertion that she had "secluded" the singer and prevented them from "participating" in Campbell's medical care.[64]

On March 8, 2016, the Rolling Stone reported that Campbell was living in a Nashville memory care facility and that he was in the "final stages" of his disease. He is now unable to communicate with other people and no longer understands what other people are saying to him. However, his family did assert that the singer was receiving good care receiving "music therapy" and was "happy" and "cheerful" .[65][66]

Campbell turned 80 on April 22, 2016. On this occasion, Jimmy Webb, with whom Campbell had frequently collaborated, announced he would launch a special edition of his national touring show on May 3, 2016 called "Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years," at Nashville's City Winery.[66]

Discography and videography[edit]

Since 1962, Campbell has recorded and released 57 studio albums and six live albums. He has also lent his vocals to four soundtracks for motion pictures (True Grit (1969), Norwood (1970), Rock-a-Doodle (1992), and the 2014 documentary film Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me). He has placed a total of 82 singles (one of which was a re-release) on either the Billboard Country Chart, the Billboard Hot 100, or the Adult Contemporary Chart, nine of which peaked at number one on at least one of those charts. He has released 15 video albums and has been featured in 21 music videos. His first two music videos, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" and "Wichita Lineman", were directed by Gene Weed in 1967 and 1968, respectively. Campbell released his final music video, "I'm Not Gonna Miss You", in 2014 to coincide with the release of the documentary Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title[67][68] Role Notes
1965 Baby the Rain Must Fall Band Member (uncredited)
1967 The F.B.I. Larry Dana Episode: "Force of Nature"
1967 The Cool Ones Patrick
1969 True Grit La Boeuf
1969–72 The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour Host
1970 Norwood Norwood Pratt
1976/77/78 American Music Awards Host
1980 Solid Gold Co-host 2 episodes
1980 Any Which Way You Can Singer at Lion Dollar Cowboy Bar
1982 The Glen Campbell Music Show Host 24 episodes
1986 Uphill All the Way Capt. Hazeltine
1991 Rock-A-Doodle Chanticleer (voice)
1997 Players Jesse Dalton Episode: "In Concert"
2014 I'll Be Me Documentary subject

Awards and honors[edit]

Grammy Awards

Year Category Work Result
1967 Best Male Country Vocal Performance "Gentle on My Mind" Won
Best Country & Western Recording "Gentle on My Mind" Won
Best Vocal Performance, Male "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" Won
Best Contemporary Vocal Performance, Male "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" Won
1968 Album of the Year By the Time I Get to Phoenix Won
Best Country Vocal Performance, Male "I Wanna Live" Nominated
Best Contemporary-Pop Vocal Performance, Male "Wichita Lineman" Nominated
Record of the Year "Wichita Lineman" Nominated
1975 Best Country Vocal Performance, Male "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)" Nominated
Best Pop Vocal Performance, Male "Rhinestone Cowboy" Nominated
Record of the Year "Rhinestone Cowboy" Nominated
1980 Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group "Dream Lover" (duet with Tanya Tucker) Nominated
1985 Best Inspirational Performance No More Night Nominated
1987 Best Country & Western Vocal Performance – Duet "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle" (with Steve Wariner) Nominated
Best Country & Western Vocal Performance – Duet "You Are" (with Emmylou Harris) Nominated
2000 Grammy Hall of Fame Award "Wichita Lineman" Won
2004 Grammy Hall of Fame Award "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" Won
2008 Grammy Hall of Fame Award "Wichita Lineman" Won
2012 Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award[69] Won
2014 Best Country Song "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" (shared with co-writer Julian Raymond) Won
Best Song Written for Visual Media "I'm Not Gonna Miss You" Nominated

Academy of Country Music[70]

Year Category Work Result
1967 Single of the Year "Gentle on My Mind" Won
Album of the Year Gentle on My Mind Won
Top Male Vocalist Won
1968 Album of the Year Bobbie Gentry & Glen Campbell Won
Top Male Vocalist Won
TV Personality of the Year Won
1971 TV Personality of the Year Won
1975 Single of the Year "Rhinestone Cowboy" Won
1998 Pioneer Award Won
2014 Video of the Year "I'm Not Gonna Miss You"[71] Nominated
2016 Career Achievement Award[72] Won

References[edit]

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  67. ^ Main actor filmography IMDB; Retrieved December 27, 2008
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  73. ^ Annual GMA Dove Awards Past Winners
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  77. ^ [1] Archived November 23, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Allen, Bob. (1998). "Glen Campbell". In The Encyclopedia of Country Music. Paul Kingsbury, Editor. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 76–77

External links[edit]