Glen Campbell Dead at 81
After a lengthy battle with Alzheimer’s disease, Glen Campbell has died at the age of 81. TMZ reports that the country icon died Tuesday (Aug. 8) around 10AM in a Nashville facility for Alzheimer’s patients; a representative from Campbell’s record label, Universal Music Group, confirms his death to Rolling Stone.
Campbell was born on April 22, 1936, in Billstown, Ark., the seventh of 12 children to John Campbell, a sharecropper, and his wife Carrie. The singer’s uncle, known as “Boo,” is credited with teaching him guitar when he was a child.
In 1954, Campbell moved to Albuquerque, N.M., with his uncle, to play in his uncle’s band. Four years later, Campbell formed his own band, but he didn’t see much success for quite some time. After moving to Los Angeles in 1960, Campbell became an in-demand session musician, playing for the likes of Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, the Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and more.
Campbell’s musicality led him to sign with Capitol Records in 1962, and he released his first single for the label, “Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry,” to minor success. But it wasn’t until 1966, when he was teamed with producer Al De Lory, that Campbell’s own recording career began taking off. It started with the Top 20 hit “Burning Bridges,” from the album of the same name. Then, songs including “Gentle on My Mind,” “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “I Wanna Live” and “Wichita Lineman” propelled Campbell to receive four Grammy Awards in 1968 — and his career excelled from there.
Since 1962, the singer has released nearly 60 studio albums and six live albums, including the No. 1 and platinum-selling Gentle on My Mind, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman and Galveston, all released in the late 1960s; the No. 1 Rhinestone Cowboy; and Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, the soundtrack to his critically acclaimed documentary, which features his Grammy Award-winning and Academy Award-nominated final song, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You.”
In 2005, Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. His long list of accolades includes six Grammy Awards, three Grammy Hall of Fame honors, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, two CMA Awards (including Entertainer of the Year), numerous ACM Awards and many, many more.
A Look Back at Glen Campbell’s Career
Campbell was also a prolific actor. His first film appearance was in 1965’s Baby, the Rain Must Fall, as an uncredited band member. He also starred in 1969’s True Grit and 1970’s Norwood, hosted the American Music Awards for three years and had two TV shows, The Glen Campbell Music Show and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.
In June of 2011, Campbell announced his Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, after experiencing short-term memory loss for several years. Soon after, he embarked on a farewell tour while he was still capable of performing. His last show took place on Nov. 30, 2012, in Napa, Calif.
In June, Campbell released his final album, Adios.
Campbell is survived by his wife of over 30 years, Kim; he was previously married to Sarah Barg, Billie Jean Nunley and Diane Kirk. He has five sons and three daughters.
Glen Campbell Through the Years