Country Legend Glen Campbell Dies At Age 81

Rolling Stone reports:

Glen Campbell, the indelible voice behind 21 Top 40 hits including “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” died Tuesday. He was 81. A rep for Universal Music Group, Campbell’s record label, confirmed the singer’s death to Rolling Stone. During a career that spanned six decades, Campbell sold over 45 million records. In 1968, one of his biggest years, he sold more than the Beatles.

In 2011, Campbell, who was 75, revealed that he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In June of that year, he announced he was retiring from music due to the disease. He released his final album of original music Ghost on the Canvas (with guests Billy Corgan, Paul Westerberg and Jakob Dylan) and embarked on a farewell tour with three of his children backing him.

Earlier this year, Campbell released Adiós, his final studio album, a collection of mainly cover songs by Bob Dylan, Harry Nilsson and others, recorded after his Goodbye Tour. “Almost every time he sat down with a guitar, these were his go-to songs,” daughter Ashley Campbell told Rolling Stone Country. “They were very much engrained in his memory – like, so far back that they were one of the last things he started losing.”

  • Unfortunate and sad. “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was one of my old favorites, and I usually hate country music.

    And I really, really hate what Alzheimers does to people, destroying them one lost memory, one lost ability at a time.

    • Joseph Miceli

      I was a little 9 year old gay kid and I saw that beautiful young man singing “Wichita Lineman” and I fell in love. He was SO handsome and his voice was like honeyed gold.
      Like you, I don’t even like country music. Glen was just amazing. The world is a little darker now.

      • #HePersisted

        You’re probably still the same size as when you were 9. Chump.

        • Joseph Miceli

          Fuckboy!!! It isn’t nice to follow me around to different posts. That’s called “trolling” and you get banned for it. I love having you, though, so I won’t report your gaping hole but don’t do it to anyone else. They don’t love you like I do, little Fuckboy.

          • JustJeff

            Jonathan Taylor Thomas was the kids name. You were probably in love.

  • Lazycrockett

    He honestly had some killer songs in his discography.

  • bkmn

    It is always sad to hear of someone dying from Alzheimers. His hits were big when I was growing up and he always seemed like he was a nice guy.

  • AndyinChicago

    Oh no! I remember I had an event where I made my friends dress up like cowboys and sing “Rhinestone Cowboy” (Don’t ask), and while I said it was in jest, I just friggin love that song. I’m so sad about this.

  • Gay Fordham Prep Grad

    I remember him on the Smothers Brothers singing with John Hartford…what a handsome man he was

  • M Jackson

    The haunting “Wichita Lineman” is a great record.

    • tim870

      One of my all time favorite songs

      • M Jackson

        Jimmy Webb has written several of my favorites. “If These Walls Could Speak”

    • TampaDink

      I was haunted by it…because what I heard as a wee lad was a song about “the witch of Tolimen.”

    • Josh Shapiro

      My favorite song….the song nobody wanted to record, but only Glen was up to the challenge of making a haunting hit about a telephone worker.

      • M Jackson

        I think it was such a simple resonant record in a decade of so many fun gimmicks and innovations. It stands out and it has those several deeply resonant chord changes.

  • Treant

    At least he beat the Mushroom War. Farewell, Glen, and thanks for the music!

  • Todd

    The burning guitar as symbolism of a Viking funeral in the Adios video is lovely. I grew up listening to Glen Campbell because my mother was (and probably still is) a huge fan. His songs are the songs of my early childhood.

  • JoeMyGod

    “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” – his song about Alzheimer’s, is one of the heartbreaking songs I’ve ever heard.

    • GayOldLady
      • DonnaLee

        Oh…I should have never seen this video, the love his wife has for him is just shining thru.

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      • Bad Tom

        Thank you for sharing that.

      • Joseph Miceli

        We’ve lost a lot of celebrities in the last decade, but this one is the only one that made me cry. God rest him.

    • narutomania

      I hadn’t heard that song before, Joe. Thanks for sharing. It is truly a powerful statement about what happens with this disease.

    • hdtex

      I’ve listened to this song SO very many times. I lost my mom after a 10 year battle to Alzheimer’s. It always ends in tears.

    • Jim Gallagher-Barker

      I heard the song once when the record came out, I then went out of my way to avoid hearing it again. My husband’s mother –who loved Glen Campbell — was in end stage Alzheimer’s and living with us at the time. I thank god she was “around” to walk her son down the aisle in 2008. Today is the first time I’ve listened to the song since then. Still makes me fall apart.

    • Mark McGovern

      Right up there with Jonny Cash Hurt, which also made me cry.

    • TheManicMechanic

      My husband’s mom is falling deeper into the clutches of Alzheimer’s, and that song hits us very hard.

    • DonnaLee

      I’m glad he could make this song, and that he had his music until the end.

    • fuzzybits

      My mother was in a nursing home for the last five years of her life. My sisters and I are so glad her mind was sharp right up to the end. Unfortunately for a lot of other residents they weren’t so lucky.

  • missmobtown

    Argh, fuck — I loved him. So many songs.

  • Ray Page

    As a distant relative of the Campbell’s I’m saddened by this news, but I will always remember Glen as a deeply talented and beautifully flawed man who fought all his life to be a better person, father, son, uncle and brother.

    Go rest high upon the mountain, Glen. Raise your voice to the heavens. I carry your name proudly, and you’ll forever be, “Gentle On My Mind.”

  • Bryan

    I grew up singing along to Glen on the radio. Sad to let him go, but maybe he’s on his way to a better place.

    His [edit: 2011] album contains this beautiful haunting piece:

    • hdtex

      I’d not heard this song before. Thanks for sharing.

  • danolgb

    The Wichita lineman hung up.

    • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn

      He left us for all time…..

  • GayOldLady

    Dementia is one of the worst endings a person can have. I’m relieved for Glen that he’s out of his misery.

    • TampaDink

      Even worse when the patient is also the president.

      • Natty Enquirer

        Can’t wait until he’s out of our misery (figuratively), too.

        • TampaDink

          The sooner the better.

        • JCF

          Or else we’ll ALL be out of our misery! (but “fire & fury” getting there).

  • Lazycrockett

    Good Luck rural America Drumpf voters.

    • Todd20036


      • TampaDink

        I can somewhat understand….they don’t want to interrupt the supply of opioids heavily relied on by many employed in the West Wing.

        • David Walker

          Or the profits Big Pharma continues to make from them.

          • TampaDink

            That too.

    • Blake J Butler

      ooh ooh ohh. I understand the right wing “rationalism” in this, they shouldn’t have been abusing opioids in the first place, and they should pull themselves by their bootstraps and do it on their own without the government’s help.

    • Paul

      OH NOOOS !!! Jerod is losing one of his jobs…………….

    • Gustav2

      Since the Republicans want to gut Medicaid…what would be the pipeline for funding treatment?

      • Death.

      • Oh’behr in Minnesota

        Having them move to blue states with state exchanges?

        (Hey those net giver states are suckers! /s Trump figured us out.).

        • Gustav2

          Since each state determines a great deal within Medicaid, in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s an uncle took a job in Ohio so a relative who was living in his household could get more help with his Parkinson’s. Michigan’s Medicaid program did not offer as much as it was not fully implemented. As soon as Archie died, they moved back to Michigan.

    • TheManicMechanic

      Being that some of the biggest abusers of opioids are rural white, often making up the core of the wingnut base, you don’t want to interrupt the supply of the drugs that make them numb to facts and anger the base.

      • Oh’behr in Minnesota

        Those abusers seem to get SSDI better than people with other disabilities, in my opinion. Kentucky and some other Appalachian country are the winners with Social Security. Ding-Ding.

  • JWC

    another great loss

  • AtticusP

    The man made some beautiful music.

    Alzheimer’s is such a cruel disease. It steals away far too many lives.

    May he Rest In Peace.

  • Gee

    Loved his music old and new

  • TampaDink

    As a kid, I was confused & afraid of one of his songs. I always envisioned “the witch of Toliman” as looking like Margaret Hamilton but even scarier….and she listened in on our phone calls.

    • TuuxKabin

      You had a party line too? =;o)

      Thanks for the smile. I’ll sniffle later.

      R.I.P. Glen Campbell. Was lovely with you.

      • One of my friends went regularly to church as her father was the pastor. For years, she was puzzled by the hymn, “Gladly the Cross-eyed bear,….” Turns out it was “Gladly the Cross I Bear.” Well, that how she told it.

  • IamSmartypants

    Sad news but not unexpected given recent reports of his health. He was one of my first crushes. I remember being smitten with him as a kindergartner in the late 60s.

    May his memory be a blessing.

  • Jon Doh

    The man was a true artist, what a loss.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    Unfortunate and sad, but not unexpected. I remember when I was a wee queerling…sigh, he always looked so yummy.

    He was a unique entertainer who was quick to smile and always obliged his fans. All my respects to his family.

  • Canadian Observer

    Sorry to hear this. Back in the 1980s he was a guest on a variety special I was working on and he was a breath of fresh air after having to deal with a lot of the “high maintenance” talent that was appearing on the show. When there was a technical problem and things got delayed during rehearsal, rather than go off to his dressing room, he sat around entertaining the drivers (lowest of the low in the crew hierarchy) by telling them slightly naughty jokes… prefacing each one with “As a born again Christian I probably shouldn’t be repeating this joke… but…”. I can understand why he has/had such devoted fans. Truly a gentleman.

    • Stubenville

      Some of the people with the sweetest public reputations were supposedly terrors backstage, Mary Tyler Moore for one, I’m told.

      • Natty Enquirer

        Oh yeah, very high-strung. Not unusual for a comedian.

      • Oh’behr in Minnesota

        Oh, that is fascinating.

  • Stubenville

    I’m not into country music, but there was no denying his talent. RIP, rhinestone cowboy.

  • Paula

    I lov d his music growing up.
    RIP Glen, ever gentle on my mind……..

  • TJay229

    Question: Did he ever appear on Soul Train…. Play guitar for Aretha, Tina or Mavis Staples… Did he play backup for James Brown or the Isley Brothers?

    Well… I have no clue who this man is.

    • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn

      And you felt compelled to share that…why, exactly?

      • Reality.Bites

        because he’s an asshole most of the time.

      • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn

        He knew the blooms in June, bitches.

      • TJay229

        Simple, it was my freedom of choice and speech to do so.

        • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn

          And it’s my freedom of choice and speech to tell you that everyone’s bag of fucks is COMPLETELY empty for whatever point you were trying to make.

          Buh bye now.

          • TJay229

            And yet you took the time to send me Three messages… I’ll move my furniture in your head next, since you’re giving me free rent in your small brain.

          • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn

            Sorry, not that furniture. I don’t do Rent-A-Center.

        • Ah, TJay, come on….smile…relax

          • grada3784

            I doubt that’s possible. Best course of action is probably just to ignore it until it goes away.

    • Silver Badger

      Soft country is not for everyone. He was great at what he did.
      PS: Aretha and Tina I know. Who is Mavis Staples?

    • edrex

      you can learn.

      • TJay229

        I have no desire.

        • Schlukitz

          Yep. That’s plain to see.

    • teedofftaxpayer

      I believe when he first started out, he did play back up to a couple of named singers but I couldn’t tell you who off hand.

      • TJay229

        Get back to me with that then.

        • Schlukitz
        • teedofftaxpayer

          He played back up with many. He played back up for Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Nat King Cole, Elvis and many others. He also played with the Beach Boys on an album. Does that satisfy you?

          • Beagle

            He toured with The Beach Boys for a while. He was also a member of the Wrecking Crew, a group of session musicians that played on many pop/rock recordings during the ’60s.

          • TJay229

            Go back to my original statement and see if ANY of those people you mentioned are listed. If you don’t get it then… Well…

          • teedofftaxpayer

            And he also played with the ones I mentioned. The site I went to didn’t mention the ones you did. But he probably did. You asked a question and I answer with even with your snarky comment.

        • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn


          • TJay229

            It.. As you are, are not that important to me. eiD ylwolS

          • Bad Tom

            Flagged and reported.

          • HeyYouKidsGetOffMyLawn

            No thanks, I’ll live to spite your stank, senseless ass.

    • TheManicMechanic

      Ooh, snap, you gots cred, brah!

      • Natty Enquirer

        He WOKE.

    • Schlukitz

      It must get pretty lonely in that dark cave, eh?

    • Bad Tom

      When I find out about a wonderful artist I never knew before, I rejoice: I have a new experience to explore.

      Holding resentment close is so toxic for you.

      • TJay229

        First off “Wonderful” is subjective. His wonderfulness is an opinion (and we all have one).

        Second, I have no reason to be resentful.. He’s dead.. I’m alive. Nuf Said.

        • Bad Tom

          You’re right. “Wonderful” is subjective. Which is why there is no reason to privilege your judgement over anyone else, especially on a page devoted to mourning the death of an artist by their fans.

          Which is why I would never piss all over such a page.

          • TJay229

            First off, I never said anything derogatory about that man… My statement was that I didn’t know who he was. Now if you interpreted that as pissing all over him… Fine, IDGAF!

            And remember this one special thing and may it take you far ” What you eat… I don’t sh*t”

          • Bad Tom

            “I never said anything derogatory about that man”

            Yes, you did. You demonstrated you were too high and mighty to care about him, implying that if he wasn’t already known to you, he was unimportant, and so worthless.

            We aren’t stupid. We get nuance. We get subtext.

    • grada3784

      Congratulations. You win the Oblivious award of the year.

      I don’t care for country music, nor soul, nor gospel, etc. A man who brought pleasure to many died; show a little compassion for their loss, even if you feel none yourself.

      • TJay229

        Sure thing Shamoo… Sure thing

  • shellback

    Someone who brought joy and music is gone. Someone who is ready to blow up the planet is alive. Things just don’t add up sometimes.

    • TKW

      And then there is Pat Robertson….

  • Leo

    OT. The entire VA Dem ticket is leading by 4-5 points. Still too close for comfort.

  • bmoore4026

    The music he made with Jimmy Webb is the stuff of legend.

    • m_lp_ql_m

      This. Most people only pay attention to his singer/guitarist aspect, but his songwriting skills are incomparable.

  • TheManicMechanic

    This is sad. Glen Campbell was one that made country music enjoyable and eminently listenable when I was growing up. The days before the country music “industry” became a profit arm of wingnut culture, where today nearly every country radio station plays a strictly scripted stack of songs that literally sound the same, the subjects being cheating, partying, guns, Jesus, beer, trucks, tractors and ‘Murka, sprinkled with with subtle ads for much of the same. Many artists are stifled by that industry and can’t escape their little boxes lest they get dropped from airplay. Get these artists off the radio and on stage, then the cover songs and reworked versions of their own stuff come out and show what the artists really can do outside of their target (pun intended) audience.

    RIP Glen, may your music always be on the line.

  • SoCalGal20

    Sad news. RIP and thank you for the music.

    Fun fact from Wikipedia:

    Because of these demos Campbell soon was in demand as a session musician and became part of a group of studio musicians later known as The Wrecking Crew.[10][13] Campbell played on recordings by Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean,[9] Elvis Presley,[14] Frank Sinatra, and Phil Spector.[10][13]

  • Ragnar Lothbrok
    • prixator

      I think I remember seeing Sonny & Cher on Glen Campbell’s variety show. I watched it often.

  • Baltimatt
    • Ode2joy

      Did he have a twitchy leg?
      Let’s ask Dr. Johnny and his pal Octoburn! (Ode2joy is Octoburn. You should pay me for me helping you out here)

      You know what I’m referring up with the twitchy leg thing right? 😡

  • Lakeview Bob

    Oh my God. First Barbara Cook and now Glen Campbell. CRAP!

  • Nic Peterson

    In other news, Zombie Robertson is still undead and that fact alone disproves the existence of a just and loving god.

  • OhioDemon

    Rest well, sir.

  • JCF

    A truly authentic voice of our times (and did great work, at the end, de-stigmatizing Alzheimers). Gentle on our minds, Glen. RIP.

  • Dwight Williamson

    For some reason, this death makes me sad in a very big way. In the unreal world world we live in, so nice to feel something real for someone I have loved my whole life. What a multitalented man,

  • Bad Tom

    Good bye Glenn. I’m glad your struggle is over.
    I’ve loved your songs all my life.
    Rest in peace.

  • UrsusArctos
  • David Walker

    Barbara Cook, Glen Campbell, and _____ (referring to the “comes in threes” theory).

  • Brian Burleson

    While he was never one of my favorites, I nonetheless appreciate the contribution that he made to the C & W music world. Godspeed GC, may you find the peace that you searched for in life.

  • fuzzybits

    Wichita Lineman is one of my favorite songs. A documentary was made of that last tour and it was really sad to see what condition he was in. RIP Glen.

  • Beagle

    RIP, Glen. You were one of the greats of my childhood.

  • blackstar

    “I know a place between life and death for you and me”

  • ColdCountry

    Aw, hell. I loved his music, easy to sing, always told a story, pleasing, relaxing style. A part of my growing up. Be at peace, Glen, and thanks for the memories.

  • jo gerardo

    Sad to hear about this poor guy. Alzheimer’s a fucked up way to go.
    I’m on two meds that are supposed to slow my memory loss. It sucks knowing I’ll be even more dependent on my much younger hubs. We took care of his parents until they passed. He had Alzheimer’s, she had dementia and were the sweetest people. So, I know what’s coming, I just won’t know when. That’s life.
    I have KEXP Seattle going nonstop in the house. They’ll prob do a tribute to Mr. Cambell. They did great ones on Prince, Bowie and Sharon Jones. How sad it would be to ignore a genre of music and miss out on what the world has to offer.

  • Josh Shapiro

    I don’t know if I would consider Glen to have been “country”….I think “crossover” would be a more accurate term, paving the way for Dolly Parton, Reba McIntire and Garth Brooks to name a few.

  • Don_K

    I remember Glen being all over the AM radio in my parents’ car on road trips in the late 60s. My dad was particularly fond of “Dreams of the Everyday Housewife”.

    I enjoyed his TV show, and appreciate that he introduced us to John Hartford, the intersection between country and hippy.

    Glen, you added a lot to my life, and maybe it’s only now I can look back on the pleasure you gave with your songs (and your interpretations of Jimmy Webb’s songs). “Galveston” in particular was a masterpiece.

  • leastyebejudged

    Mournful over him and the loss of the days when radio did not suck

  • BeaverTales

    I loved him before I even saw him. My parents, one of the few black families in rural Colorado mainly listened to Motown at home , but the radio in the car often had country music unless my dad loaded an 8-track with Marvin Gaye or EW&F, probably because there weren’t many radio stations in rural areas back then.. Country music always became associated with a car ride someplace, and I have happy associations with it. It was the music of freedom and sunshine picnics. Motown became the music of family and indoor memories.

    I actually thought Elton John and Glen Campbell were the same guy when I heard their songs on the radio. I was 6 years old before I saw Glen’s photo and first associated him with “Southern Nights” and “Rhinestone Cowboy”. His voice was always so compelling to me. I thought he looked so handsome and manly with his beard and cowboy costume.

    I had no idea what homosexuality was at that age, I just remember a strange feeling like butterflies in my tummy when I saw certain guys…a feeling that only years later during puberty I recognized as the flutter of my first feelings of being romantically/sexually attracted to someone. I got it when I saw guys with dark hairy arms and chest hair and beards and deep voices….I had those feelings long before puberty brought the erections and wet dreams and fantasies that I knew I could never share with anyone.

    Thank you Glen, for the memories….

  • I listened to Rhinestone Cowboy on the way to work today. I hadn’t known he had died till I read this post. I like Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and Dreams of an Everyday Housewife too. I once mentioned in passing the song Dreams of an Everyday Housewife to one of the students who worked for me (at the time) and he said, “There’s a song called Dreams of the Everyday Housewife?” Sometimes I feel really old.

    R.I.P. Glen.