(April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017)
On August 8th the world lost another great music legend. Glen Campbell passed away at the age of 81 after a brave battle with Alzheimer's disease.
I'll be the first to admit that I am not a huge fan of country music or a historian on the genre. Growing up I heard a lot of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Loretta Lynn and others around my house and we were avid watchers of Hee-Haw, so there is some of that in my musical make up.
I was aware of the contributions that Glen Campbell had made over the years on records for The Beach Boys, The Monkees, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and just about anyone you can think of in the 60's and early 70's. He was a very sought after session player and a member of a group of elite players known as The Wrecking Crew. The members of The Wrecking Crew performed on literally hundreds of records over the years. It really is astounding when you look up all the work these guys did, google it.....you will be amazed.
So, I knew Glen was a great talent and recognized as one of top guitarist in the business but his music other than the hits really was not on my radar at all.
My interest in Campbell's music was peaked when it was announced in 2011 that he would be doing one last record called Ghost On The Canvas. The album featured songwriting contributions from the likes of Paul Westerberg (The Replacements) and Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices) and guest musicians including Rick Nielsen from Cheap Trick, Billy Corgan from Smashing Pumpkins, Steve Hunter, Brian Setzer and Jellyfish members Jason Falkner, Roger Manning and Eric Dover. Also around this time it was revealed the Campbell was suffering with Alzheimer's disease and would be embarking on a farewell tour while he was still healthy.
I became really intrigued by all this information and bought Ghost On The Canvas as soon as it hit the shelves. It really is an amazing album. It has been compared to the work that Johnny Cash did with Rick Rubin during his later years. Campbell's 2008 record Meet Glen Campbell featured reworkings of contemporary songs by Foo Fighters, Tom Petty, Green Day, Lou Reed, U2 among others and it helped introduce Glen to a new audience. The idea behind Ghost On The Canvas was to have Glen collaborate with younger musician to create new music as well as include some interesting covers and it came out beautifully. Ghost On The Canvas was intended to be Campbell's last record but he returned to the studio and completed enough material for two subsequent releases: 2013's See You There, and his most recent album Adios, released just two months prior to his passing. Campbell released a total of 64 studio records during his almost six decades in the music business.
I was further drawn into the Campbell story with the release of the 2014 documentary film I'll Be Me. The film chronicles Campbell's 2012 farewell tour and his struggles with Alzheimer's disease. It's a very powerful film and at times tough to watch. It is clear though that Campbell was surrounded by family, friends and fans that adored him. For me the most interesting thing to see in the film was how Glen's memory loss never really affected his ability to perform, he would flub some lyrics here and there but many artists do that who aren't dealing with Alzheimer's. His guitar playing chops
were still incredible and voice strong.
The soundtrack to I'll Be Me features Campbell's very last studio recording, a song called "I'm Not Gonna Miss You."
Glen, you will be missed.
I thought I would wrap up this piece by including some music moments from Glen's most recent works to give you an idea of what he's been up to. If all you know from him is "Southern Nights" and "Rhinestone Cowboy," you may be surprised.
I also included a clip of Alice Cooper talking about Glen right after getting the news of Glen's passing. Apparently Alice and Glen were golfing buddies and had been friends for many years. Alice shares some fond memories of their friendship.
RIP Glen Campbell
Scott Carr is a guitarist who plays in the Columbus, OH bands Radio Tramps andReturning April. Scott is also an avid collector of vinyl records and works at Lost Weekend Records. So...if you are looking for Scott....you'll either find him in a dimly lit bar playing his guitar or in a record store digging for the holy grail.