Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American rock and country music singer, guitarist, songwriter, television host, and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, and for hosting a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.
During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70 albums. He has sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and 1 Double-Platinum album. He has placed a total of 80 different songs on either the Billboard Country Chart, Billboard Hot 100, and/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. In 1969 actor John Wayne picked Campbell to play alongside him in the film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell 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. During the tour’s concerts and rehearsals, Campbell would often forget which songs he was supposed to play, repeating them after finishing a performance. He also frequently had to be reminded that he did have the disease, and relied on a teleprompter to remember the lyrics to most songs. Newer songs from his later albums had to be scrapped altogether, as Campbell struggled to remember the chords and lyrics for these. 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 had become a patient at an Alzheimer’s long-term care and treatment facility. On March 10, 2015, NBC News reported that Campbell could no longer speak for himself and that two of his children, Debby and Travis, had sought legal action against Campbell’s wife Kim, with the assertion that she had “secluded” the singer and prevented them from “participating” in Campbell’s medical care.
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