Glen Campbell dead at 81 – country music icon dies after battle with Alzheimer’s

Glen Campbell

Glen Campbell

Country music icon Glen Campbell has died aged 81, Getintothis’ Peter Guy reflect on his legacy.

Glen Campbell, the country music icon, has died aged 81.

Campbell, who had hits in the 1960s and 1970s, had been battling Alzheimer’s disease which he made public in 2011 before embarking on a final tour in 2012.

Campbell started out as a guitarist in Los Angeles as a session musician with the Wrecking Crew (alongside artists including Leon Russell and Dr. John) before becoming a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in on bass and vocals for Brian Wilson. He appeared on Pet Sounds.

I took Brian’s place and that was just … I was in heaven then – hog heaven!” Campbell remarked.

Making the transition from session musician to solo artist, Campbell had hits including Wichita Lineman, Rhinestone Cowboy and Galveston before hosting his own musical variety show from 1969 to 1972 called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.

In 1967, Campbell won Grammys in both the country and pop categories.

Brian Wilson, Pet Sounds and the making of a masterpiece

He went on to launch an acting career appearing in the 1969 John Wayne film True Grit.

Campbell was married four times, and has five sons and three daughters. Despite his career successes, he struggled with alcoholism and cocaine addiction.

In the early Eighties, he had a tempestuous, high-profile relationship with country singer Tanya Tucker, who was 22 years his junior. In 1981 he became a born-again Christian and in 1982 he married Kimberly Woollen, a Radio City Music Hall Rockette, who helped Campbell clean up his life.

Meet Glen Campbell, released in 2008, featured the country legend covering the Replacements, the Velvet Underground, Jackson Browne’s These Days (made famous by Nico), the Foo Fighters, and more.

His 2011 album Ghost on the Canvas featured contributions from Robert Pollard, Paul Westerberg, Billy Corgan and many others.

Exploring Liverpool’s rockabilly scene

In 2013, Campbell released See You There, an album featuring stripped down versions of his hits. His final record, Adiós, came out earlier this year.


Social media reaction following the death of Glen Campbell