Glen Campbell had planned to “hit the road one more time” and record “one more album” before the dreaded disease, which he is now suffering Alzheimers, took over his life and his love of music, family and friends.
Below is a short essay I submitted in a contest several years ago. Maybe he’s a favorite of yours too.
Sometime pain from arthritis “sets me back” when time comes for preparing and typing my weekly column, and when that happens, I try to find something of interest in my files to publish, while hoping the physical therapy sessions will take care of my next weeks’ submitting.
Glen Travis Campbell, born April 22, 1936, in Billstown, Arkansas; truly one of the best in the entertainment field, my favorite…and I, being a bit partial to Arkansans and he, coming from Arkansas, puts him on the top rung of the ladder…in my opinion.
True, the ladder became “wobbly” from time to time in his life, but he always managed to pick himself up, brush himself off and start all over again.
Straying from his upbringing, along with conviction, convinced him at one time in his life to change his lifestyle. In 1994, he published a tell-all autobiography, made amends and became a born-again christian.
While watching him on TV being honored at the Grammy Awards, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award and participating in a special tribute to h s music with his wife at his side and his children…two sons and a daughter as his band, he sang ‘Rhinestone Cowboy,” I shed tears and silently prayed for him, well aware of what this terrible disease is crippling his brilliant, musical mind…as an actor and singer. Glen Campbell was born on a family farm, the son of Wesley and Carrie Campbell, a sharecropper family. He was one of 12 children. The family was largely impoverished. Glen, along with his siblings pitched in to help pick cotton.
He had musical promise early on and at the age of 4 his father bought him a Sears & Roebuck guitar; within a few years, Glen was playing as a paid act and performing guest spots on local radio stations.
A talented guitarist at 16, he dropped out of school and headed west where he played in bars and roadhouses.
In 1952 he joined a band founded by his uncle named Dick Bills and at the age of 22 formed his own band,..called the “Western Wranglers.”
When he was 24 and just getting started he wrote a song titled. “Turn Around, Look At Me.” It’s modest success caught the attention of Capital Records. Glen became known as a very skilled guitarist and finger-picker, working with Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, just to name a few.
In 1965 he toured with “The Beach Boys. T w years later, recorded “Gentle On Hy Mind.” His next single “By The Time I Get To Phoenix.” Honored as Entertainer Of The Year in 1968…then “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston” narrowed the gap between country and pop music.
Next, his on primetime variety show after CBS viewed him as a guest on The Joey Bishop Show, making Glen Campbell an Next, his o n primetime variety show after CBS viewed h as a guest on The Joey Bishop Show, making Glen Campbell an international star.
He was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 2005.
I cried, I laughed and was surprised after watching Glen recieve the Lifetime Achievement Award how the dreaded disease had already taken over his life.
God has a purpose for everything and with Glen’s supporting family… and his wit… like he quoted…”I can jump as high as I ever could, I just can’t stay up as long.”
“I’m so bright, my daddy calls me “SUN”.
“Some days I’m so confused, my past is in my way.”
“I’m going out with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.”
“I’ve got nothing but the whole wide world to gain.”