Glenn Campbell died

Glenn Campbell, 81, just died after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease (is “battle” the right word for something like this?). But even though the outcome was inevitable, he accepted it bravely. As CNN reports:

During the “Ghost” tour, there were times he would forget lyrics or find himself suddenly unfamiliar with a chord change. The audience urged him on, singing the song and guiding him back into the groove.

He told CNN he had no regrets.

“I am content with it. Don’t cry over spilt milk,” he said. “Get up and be a man and do what you have got to do.”

I wrote a post on Campbell the day after last Christmas, mentioning that his musical skills, especially on the guitar, were underappreciated. Let’s appreciate him now with the three songs I posted then.

This is the clip that made me realize how good he really was:

My favorite of all his songs, here truncated but with a great solo:

And one found by a reader:


  1. Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    And this astonishing performance…

  2. bbenzon
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Before he became well-known is spent a half-dozen years of so in the Hollywood studies playing multiple sessions a day. That is one of the most exacting musical gigs you can have. There’s almost no rehearsal. & worked with lots of different pop styles, also demanding.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted August 9, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      This would be an excellent time to watch the Netflix documentary on “The Wrecking Crew”, the studio musicians (including Campbell) who played on so many albums of that era.

  3. Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Spent this afternoon listening to his music. Grew up listening to his guitar, voice and lyrics.

    Life goes on…

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    Dang, I coincidentally posted a video of Glenn singing “Honey Come Back” in an earlier thread today in honor of your duck.

    Sorry to hear the news.

  5. rickflick
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a nice overview of his career. I talks about his early time as a session guitarist in LA, subbing for Brian Williams with the Beach Boys,etc., and deals with his Alzheimer’s. That last aspect is a little hard to watch.

  6. Allen
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Somewhere in the basement is a LP of Glenn playing 12 string guitar. I loved that album. I also have the album with Galveston on it.

  7. Posted August 8, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    So sad! My Grandpa is entering into the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s as we speak. Such a miserable process, heart wrenching doesn’t even cover it 😦

  8. Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    And this warm and effortlessly talented Natchez porch version with John Hartford of Hartford’s Gentle on my mind. Best pop lyric ever, imo. R.I.P., Glen.

  9. Christopher
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    He had a great voice, along with his unbelievable guitar talent, but I will always remember him as a certain Texas brush-popper and John Wayne friendly foe in True Grit. I mystyhave watched that movie dozens of times during my childhood and maybe hundreds during my son’s childhood. Flawed human but great talent, all the way around.

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Jimmy Webb’s ‘Wichita Lineman’ sung by Campbell, with the strings backing – ultra simple & yet it evokes separation, space, loneliness & yearning with a dash of hope. All in two verses with simple words. I’ve always thought I shouldn’t like it [too simple & a bit naff], but the Webb/Campbell combo persuades me every time.

    Galveston [Webb/Campbell] beats it by a nose because Campbell’s vocals are so damned good.

    • Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Chords ain’t simple, Michael, but I’m damned if I can remember them.

      The ‘telegraph line’ guitar at the end of the ‘chorus’ is a mistake. Webb sent the score to Campbell of the unfinished ‘Wichita Lineman’. Our ‘chorus’ is what Webb thought of as the bridge. The telegraph line guitar solo is Campbell’s assumption of Webb’s intention for the next section: whereas Webb was actually noodling a part he hadn’t yet written. Campbell went ahead anyway and recorded it as we hear.

      I like the unresolvedness and slightly gothic unsatisfactoriness of the lyric and tune: there is much more going on under this vast, pitiless sky.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 8, 2017 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

        I like what you’ve written Dermot – truth in poetry

        • Posted August 8, 2017 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

          In a long and sporadic career of pop under-achievement (latest PRS cheque was for £1.93), I’ve just realised that the only cover I ever performed live was Wichita Lineman. And that, mediocre.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 9, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

        Campbell’s chorus should probably be thought of as collaboration. Thinking of the years of playing, the session work, the skill at improvisation…

  11. Susan D.
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    All day in my head I’ve been singing “Southern Nights”, what a great song, great voice, great everything.

  12. busterggi
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Of course his music is his main legacy but I’ll always enjoy his performance in True Grit too.

  13. Mike
    Posted August 9, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I remember a story he told of playing for Sinatra as part of the backing band, he couldn’t take his eyes of Sinatra , he was so starstruck, until finally Sinatra asked was there something wrong with the Guitarist who keeps staring at him,a truly great Musician

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