The music world is mourning the loss of Glen Campbell, who died yesterday morning (Tuesday, August 8th) in Nashville at the age of 81. The announcement was made on Campbell's official website page yesterday which read, "It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease."
The Country Music Hall of Famer found success as a solo artist with such classics as "Gentle On My Mind," "Wichita Lineman," "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," "Galveston," "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Southern Nights" and dozens more. Campbell got his start as a session musician in Los Angeles, playing guitar and other various instruments which was truly his first love. He told us: ["I never really started out to be anything. Country (or) rock, pop — I didn't do it. I was going to be a guitar player. It never entered my mind that I would be a singer cutting records and singing on the radio. I was basically a guitar player (first)."] SOUNDCUE (:13 OC: . . . a guitar player)
Along the way, Campbell was invited to join the Beach Boys, an offer he declined, and he made the leap to television as the host of his own successful CBS show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which introduced many a country artist to America.
Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011, releasing his final album, called Adios, in June. He also said farewell to fans on his final Goodbye tour, playing his last concert on November 30, 2012 in Napa, CA.
Campbell is survived by his wife, Kim Campbell of Nashville, TN; their three children, Cal, Shannon and Ashley; his children from previous marriages, Debby, Kelli, Travis, Kane, and Dillon; 10 grandchildren, great- and great-great-grandchildren; sisters Barbara, Sandra, and Jane; and brothers John Wallace “Shorty” and Gerald. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Glen Campbell Memorial Fund at BrightFocus Foundation through the CareLiving.org donation page.
Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, and Chris Young offer thoughts on Campbell:
Keith: ["I've always been a fan of what I like to call guitartists, you know, those guitar-artists like Glen Campbell — who's probably one of my biggest influences — those guys who knew a good song, had a great voice and played great, and just the all-around guys with a guitar, you know? 'Cause when you think of Glen Campbell, you think of, I think of 'Galveston' and 'Wichita Lineman,' then I also think of him being a phenomenal guitar player."] SOUNDCUE (:22 OC: . . . phenomenal guitar player.)
Dierks: [“Some of these bigger hits are so good and so classic and they’re so different than anything else out there. And he just has a way of performing that I’ve always felt like he’s one of those guys that if all of the power went out and there was no PA system and no band behind you and it just had to be just you and a guitar, he could entertain that crowd just as well as if they had all of the lights and production, and it’s Glen. He’s such a great singer, great musician and so funny, and such a great storyteller. He really carved out his niche. There’s no one that’ll ever sound like him – a classic legend.”] SOUNDCUE (:40 OC: . . . part of it.)
Chris: ["You'd be hard-pressed to find, in my opinion, anybody that doesn't love Glen Campbell and understand the significance his career and just who he was had on not just country but a lot of just music. There's so many people that loved Glen Campbell, and I don't know that anyone was necessarily shocked and suprised just because of how his health had been over the past several years but it's always sad when you lose somebody that's just a cornerstone in music like that. Going through songs of his, especially to me, 'Wichita Lineman' . . . I mean, there's so many songs that you can go through — 'Rhinestone Cowboy,' 'By The Time I Get To Phoenix,' 'Gentle On My Mind,' 'Southern Nights' and just on and on and on — but that one for me was the one that stood out cause it was so different and he just really and truly was an innovator so he'll be missed."] SOUNDCUE (:45 OC: . . . he'll be missed.)
The following celebrities issued statements or offered their condolences via social media:
Blake Shelton: "Extremely sad to hear that Glen Campbell has passed away. My prayers and thoughts go out to him and his family."
Dolly Parton: "Glen Campbell was one of the greatest voices of all time. I will always love you, Glen!"
Darius Rucker: "Glen Campbell… The artist. The songwriter. The musician. The man. Music will never be the same. Missing the Rhinestone Cowboy already!"
Charlie Daniels: "Thank you Glen Campbell for sharing your talent with us for so many years. May you rest in peace my friend. You will never be forgotten"
Brian Wilson: "I'm very broken up to hear about my friend Glen Campbell. An incredible musician and an even better person. I'm at a loss. Love & Mercy."
Ellen DeGeneres: "Country music will never be the same. Sending love to Glen Campbell’s family"
Steve Martin: "RIP, Glen. You were my first employer as a writer. We we all in awe of your musicality."
Canaan Smith: "Saddened to hear that Glen Campbell passed. So much talent…he will surely be missed. RIP #RhinestoneCowboy"
John McCain: "Saddened by the passing of Glen Campbell, a great entertainer, a great man & a great Arizonan – thanks for the memories!"
Rascal Flatts: "We lost a music legend today. Rest in peace, Glen Campbell. Sending love and prayers to his family."
Sheryl Crow: "Huge loss in the world of music today. Rest In Peace, Glen Campbell."
Brad Paisley: "Thank you @GlenCampbell for the artistry, grace & class you brought to country music. You were a shining light in so many ways."
Ricky Skaggs: "One of the greatest musicians, singers, entertainers, and beautiful human beings has left this life for the next life where no disease is allowed to enter, thank God! It takes a prepared person to go a place, and Glen was prepared. I knew him and loved him so much. My condolences to precious Kim and the family. Much love and prayers for you all."
Ray Stevens: "Glen was a good friend with a great sense of humor. I remember once being backstage putting on a camel costume to go on and sing 'Ahab the Arab' and he showed up and said 'Well, it's come to this has it?' It's been a long goodbye since his diagnosis with Alzheimer's Disease. Glen Campbell will be greatly missed and long remembered."
Pam Tillis: "In some ways my family’s life changed once Dad became a semi regular on the Glen Campbell show and we were always so grateful for that. I just loved him always, he crossed genre’s effortlessly and even though he was astonishingly good looking and talented he came off so real and natural… genius entertainer for sure. We’ll miss him greatly."
Jerry Lee Lewis: "Glen was a dear friend to me. One of the best. Let the Lord be with him to rest his soul and to comfort his family.”
Steve Wariner: "God Bless you Glen! When I was young I wanted to sing, play, even comb my hair like Glen Campbell! The most naturally gifted human I've ever been around. He was simply amazing, we'll miss you ole pal."