Glen Campbell RIP

Legendary performer and Wrecking Crew guitarist dead at 81

By Gary Graff
August 9, 2017

Glen Campbell, who soldiered on for a great while after announcing he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease in 2011, died on Wednesday (August 8) at the age of 81.

Though primarily known for his country and pop hits such as “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Southern Nights,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston,” the Arkansas-born Campbell began his career as a session musician in Los Angeles, part of Phil Spector’s famed Wrecking Crew corps of musicians playing on recordings by Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, the Monkees, Nat King Cole, Merle Haggard, Dean Martin and many others.

Concurrently a member of the Champs, Campbell was hired by the Beach Boys as a touring member of the band to replace Brian Wilson when he retired from the road; Campbell subsequently played guitar on the group’s landmark Pet Sounds album in 1966. His success as a solo artist led to him hosting The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from 1969-1972 on CBS, as well as roles in movies such as True Grit (for which received a Golden Globe Award nomination), The Cool Ones and more. Campbell has received 10 Grammy Awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012 and Grammy Hall of Fame Awards for his hits “Wichita Lineman” and “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.”

He also received a Career Achievement Award from the Academy of Country Music in 2016 and has been inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Musicians Hall of Fame. He was the subject of the 2014 documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.

He’s survived by his wife, Kim, and eight children, some of whom played in Campbell’s touring band towards the end of his life. Memorial plans have not yet been announced.