Glen Travis Campbell (April 22, 1936 – August 8, 2017) was an American singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and actor. He was best known for a series of hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television from 1969 until 1972. He released 64 albums in a career that spanned five decades, selling over 45 million records worldwide, including twelve gold albums, four platinum albums, and one double-platinum album.
Born in Billstown, Arkansas, Campbell began his professional career as a studio musician in Los Angeles, spending several years playing with the group of instrumentalists later known as “The Wrecking Crew”. After becoming a solo artist, he placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, or Adult Contemporary Chart, of which 29 made the top 10 and of which nine reached number one on at least one of those charts. Among Campbell’s hits are “Universal Soldier”, his first hit from 1965, along with “Gentle on My Mind” (1967), “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967), “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife” (1968), “Wichita Lineman” (1968), “Galveston” (1969), “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975) and “Southern Nights” (1977).
In 1967, Campbell won four Grammys 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 owned 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 played a supporting role in the film True Grit (1969), which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. He 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. He became a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility in 2014. That same year Campbell was the subject of the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, directed by longtime friend James Keach, which examined Campbell’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis and how it affected his musical performances during his final tour across the United States with his family. The documentary received critical acclaim, being one of the rare films to achieve a 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Campbell died in Nashville, Tennessee, on August 8, 2017, at the age of 81. He was buried in the Campbell family cemetery in Billstown, Arkansas.