For many younger music fans, it will be hard to imagine just how big
a star Glen Campbell was in the now-old-world music industry. Campbell died August 8th in Nashville from complications from Alzheimer's disease.
Glen Campbell, whose 1975 smash "Rhinestown Cowboy" gave him his nickname, was not only a chart topping hit recording artist on both the Billboard
pop and country charts, but for three seasons (one more than his pal Johnny Cash), Campbell was also the star of his very own prime time variety show.
For three decades, Campbell could be counted on to bring any music program--a holiday special, the Grammy's, or even another artists' show--that extra touch of class not to mention expert picking and singing. He was both serious and off-handed, capable of pulling off schmaltz, a picking contest with fishing buddy Jerry Reed, or a Jimmy Webb composition that demanded empathy, irony, and vulnerability on a scale that could be understood from the streets of LA to his hometown of Billstown, Arkansas where he was born in 1933.
In the 1970s, lots of people who don't play guitar had heard of Chet Atkins. But everybody knew Glen Campbell was a star. Even with Alzheimer's he managed the ultimate show business trick of going out on top with a documentary and a fine album, Adios.
Check out Campbell's work as a studio musician with the Wrecking Crew, the legendary LA studio group he joined at the age of 27. You can hear Campbell on hits by Dean Martin, the Monkees, Merle Haggard, Elvis, and Frank and Nancy Sinatra. We also recommend you check out Campbell's solo records for Capitol including The Astounding 12-string Guitar of Glen Campbell
and the smash LPs Gentle On My Mind
, By the Time I Get To Phoenix
, Wichita Lineman
, and Galveston
. No guitar--whether it be an Epiphone or some little known rarity from the late 50s--was ever in better hands. Here is Campbell and old pal Willie Nelson's duet of the Nelson classic, "Funny How Time Slips Away." Adios, Rhinestone Cowboy.