The rock community has taken to social media to pay their final respects to the great Glen Campbell. Campbell died on Tuesday (August 8th) in Nashville at age 81 from Alzheimer’s disease. Campbell, who apart from his legendary hits and solo career, was regarded as one of the best — if not THE best — session guitarist in the 1960’s, and was a key part of the elite group of top studio session players in L.A. called “the Wrecking Crew” and performed on many of the hit singles recorded in Hollywood from the late 1950’s through the early 1970’s, including tracks by the Ronettes, the Beach Boys, the Monkees, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Leslie Gore, Paul Revere & the Raiders, the Righteous Brothers, Sonny & Cher, Jan & Dean, Gary Lewis & the Playboys and many of Phil Spector’s classic ’60s “Wall Of Sound” productions.
Over the years Campbell has become a household name, after a 1969 star turn opposite John Wayne in True Grit, and later that year starring in his own variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which ran on CBS until 1972. In 2005, at the Country Music Association Awards, Campbell was officially inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Over the years, Campbell had publicly battled alcohol and substance abuse. In 2004, he served a 10-day sentence in a Phoenix County jail for a DUI conviction. In 2006, Campbell’s 1967 recording of “By The Time I Get To Phoenix” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Last June, Campbell’s family released his final collection of studio recordings, titled Adios. The project, which was recorded after Campbell’s final 2011 “Goodbye Tour” features appearances by Willie Nelson and Vince Gill, as well as Campbell’s children, Ashley, Shannon and Cal.
In 2008 he released the critically acclaimed album, Meet Glen Campbell, which featured such cover tunes as John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me,” Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life),” U2’s “All I Want Is You,” Foo Fighters’ “Times Like These,” the Replacements’ “Sadly Beautiful,” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’ “Walls,” and the Velvet Underground’s “Jesus,” among others.
FRIENDS & FANS REMEMBER GLEN CAMPBELL
Jimmy Webb: “I am full of grief. I am writing because I think you deserve some sort of message from me but I am too upset to write very well or at any great length. It’s like waking up in the morning in some Kafkaesque novella and finding that half of you is missing. Laura and I would call upon you to rest your sympathy with Kim Campbell and her children Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his older children Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren. Perhaps you could throw in a prayer for the Webb kids, Chris, Justin, Jamie, Corey, Charles and Camila who looked upon him as a kind of wondrous uncle who was a celebrated star and funnier than old dad. This I can promise. While I can play a piano he will never be forgotten. And after that someone else will revel in his vast library of recordings and pass them on to how many future generations? Possibly to all of them.”
Brian Wilson: “I’m very broken up to hear about my friend Glen Campbell. An incredible musician and an even better person. I’m at a loss. Love & Mercy.”
Mike Love: “This morning brought very sad news of the passing of Glen Campbell. I was privileged to know Glen and to spend time with him in 1964 when Brian stopped touring with The Beach Boys and Glen took his place. It was an exciting time back then on tour with screaming girls and good looking Glen bore the brunt of it losing a watch and getting his shirt ripped by more than enthusiastic fans. I’ve never met a more talented person in all the years we have been in the music business and never had a better time on tour than the time spent with Glen. His sense of humor was incredible and we never laughed so much as when he was with us. Glen was with us for only a few months before he moved on with his career and what a phenomenal one it was! In later years, it was fun to drop in and visit him. Often in his shows he would do a Beach Boys medley. Our paths crossed countless times on the road including a Super Bowl performance together in San Diego many years ago. No matter when or where we were Glen, or the oldest living teenager as he referred to himself, was always witty, down to earth and just a whole lotta fun to be with. We last saw Glen in person backstage at the Grammys in 2012, highlighted by a tribute to Glen. We took a photo together and though he had been diagnosed with the disease that ultimately ended his life he was kind and friendly which was his nature. We lost a friend this morning, and the world lost an enormously talented person in Glen Campbell. We are blessed to have known him and the world is blessed to have his musical legacy that will forever be part of America’s best music. He joins a growing list of legends that have left us with their musical gifts and Glen Campbell is one of the brightest stars in the musical firmament. As he said ‘I am just a country boy with guitar’ we say no, you are our country’s hero with a guitar! We love you Glen. Peace Brother.”
Al Jardine: “Glen was a good friend and he was generous to a fault. We shared some good times together as fellow Beach Boys when he began his meteoric rise to stardom and continued to be friends. I send all my love to the family and especially Debby for getting him to that studio that day. He made everything sound better. He taught ME how to sing!”
Ringo Starr: “God bless and peace and love to Glen Campbell thanks for the music The real rhinestone cowboy and love to all his family”
Joe Walsh: “Sad to hear Glen Campbell passed. He was a GREAT guitar player, and a great person. Rest in peace my friend — Thanks for all the music.”
Peter Frampton: “Dear Glen Campbell — Rest In Peace As well as your incredible musical abilities you were one of the most down to earth ppl I have ever known.”
Paul Stanley: “So sad to hear of Glen Campbell passing. A stellar session player, singer and performer. LOVED his Jimmy Webb songs.”
Stone Temple Pilots: “Thank you for all you gave us Glen. We love you and will miss you.”
Huey Lewis: “Glen Campbell was extremely talented, very humble, and pure of soul. He will be missed, but his music will live forever.”
Richie Sambora: “Hey god bless Glen Campbell!!!! Such a big influence on me. . . Thanks Glen. . . you’ll live on.”
Toto’s Steve Lukather: “We lost a legend and hero of mine yesterday. One of the all time greats + a gentle nice man! Glen Campbell RIP.”
Billy Idol: “Glen Campbell RIP”
Sheryl Crow: “Huge loss in the world of music today. Rest In Peace, Glen Campbell.”
CAMPBELL ON CAMPBELL
Glen Campbell was born in Delight, Arkansas, one of 12 children. In 1958, after years of working the club circuits, Campbell headed West and almost immediately found work as a session guitarist in Los Angeles. Shortly before he fell ill, he told us that music came so naturally to him that he never thought much about it, beyond the joy of playing it: “I never really started out to be anything. Country (or) rock, pop — I didn’t do it. I was going to be a guitar player. It never entered my mind that I would be a singer cutting records and singing on the radio. I was basically a guitar player (first).”
Photo Courtesy of Capitol