Glen Travis Campbell (April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017) was an American rock and country music singer, musician, songwriter, television host and actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a music and comedy variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television from January 1969 through June 1972.
During his 50 years in show business, Campbell released more than 70 albums. He sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA Gold albums, four Platinum albums and one Double-platinum album. He placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, or the Adult Contemporary Chart, of which 29 made the top 10 and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts. Campbell’s hits include his recordings of John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind”; Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman” and “Galveston”; Larry Weiss’s “Rhinestone Cowboy”; and Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights”.
Campbell made history in 1967 by winning four Grammys total in the country and pop categories. For “Gentle on My Mind”, he received two awards in country and western, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” did the same in pop. Three of his early hits later won Grammy Hall of Fame Awards (2000, 2004, 2008), while Campbell himself won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA’s top award as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. Campbell appeared as a supporting role in the film True Grit, which gave him a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell also sang the title song which was nominated for an Academy Award.
In June 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease six months earlier. According to his family, symptoms of the disease had been occurring for years, becoming more and more evident as the years progressed.
Campbell went on a final “Goodbye Tour,” with three of his children joining him in his backup band. His final show was on November 30, 2012, in Napa, California. He performed “Rhinestone Cowboy” as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012, his final televised on-stage performance.
In April 2014, news reports indicated that Campbell became a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility. On March 4, 2015, Associated Press reported that two of Campbell’s children, Debby and Travis, sought legal action against Campbell’s wife Kim, with the assertion she “secluded” the singer and prevented them from “participating” in Campbell’s medical care.
On March 8, 2016, Rolling Stone reported that Campbell was living in a Nashville memory care facility and that he was in the “final stages” of his disease. He was unable to communicate with people and understand what people said to him. However, his family also said he was receiving good care and was “happy” and “cheerful.”
On Campbell’s 80th birthday, Jimmy Webb, with whom Campbell frequently collaborated, announced he would launch a special edition of his national touring show on May 3, 2016, called “Jimmy Webb: The Glen Campbell Years” at Nashville’s City Winery.
Campbell died of Alzheimer’s disease in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 8, 2017, six years after his diagnosis.