I read the news today that singer Glen Campbell announced his final album and tour this summer. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease six months ago and this will be his last hurrah.
Now, I was never a HUGE fan to say the least (although Rhinestone Cowboy was one of the very first songs I ever remember hearing and loved) but after reading the resume of this man’s accomplishments I’ve come to appreciate his work as both an artist and a person who actually lived out the “American Dream”. We all can only hope to be so lucky.
I’m sure all you Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga and Beyonce fans will laugh me to scorn and go ahead. But let’s see where your ladies are thirty years from now. They won’t have this list to reflect on that’s for sure. No, there will NEVER be another artist in our lifetime that has done what Glen Campbell has.
Check this out and see if you agree:
- A Life of Hits: Glen Campbell has had 81 songs on the charts. That averages out to one for every year of his life plus six before he was born.
- Forget Kevin Bacon: Within one degree of Glen Campbell you get: Elvis, John Wayne, Sinatra, the Beach Boys, Bobby Darin, Wayne Newton, Leon Russell, Merle Haggard, the Mamas & Papas, Dean Martin, Bobbie Gentry, Steve Martin, Rob Reiner, the Highwaymen, Tanya Tucker, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Steve McQueen, Joe Namath, Alan Jackson, Anne Murray, Mel Tillis, Robert Culp, Olivia Newton-John, Leif Garrett, Paul Westerberg, Billy Corgan, Bob Pollard, Jakob Dylan, Quincy Jones, Phil Spector, Clint Eastwood, Steve Wariner, Chris Isaak, Dick Dale, Nat King Cole, Rick Nelson, the Dillards, Dick Dale, Jeff Bridges, Allen Toussaint, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Rita Coolidge, Brian Setzer and Jimmy Webb. Most people at any point in history would have settled for Elvis and John Wayne
- Holy Moly: Glen’s a religious person so I won’t blaspheme here, but the Beatles famously claimed (in a quote admittedly taken out of context) to be bigger than Jesus. Um, Glen Campbell outsold the Beatles in 1969.
- God Only Knows: Glen played guitar on the Beach Boys’ opus Pet Sounds, and when Brian Wilson was in his, let’s say “difficult period,” they invited him to join the band. He subbed in for a tour and then went off to make a several dozen of his own hits.
- A Good Time, All the Time: From 1969 to 1972, Campbell was the charismatic host of the aptly named The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour. Tens of millions people a week watched it, with up to 50 million a week tuning in. (Think about it, today’s biggest non-Super Bowl TV event, is 30 million people watching American Idol finals.)
- Changing Lanes: Campbell has gotten hits and/or awards in the country, pop and gospel genres. He’s won Grammys, AMAs, CMAs, was up for an Oscar, and did a covers album that included a Green Day song. Crazy!
- Forget Horatio Alger: Campbell grew up in severe poverty as the 7th son of an Arkansas sharecropper. He came to Hollywood in 1960 with $300 and a lot of hope. He scratched by on a meager publishing deal. Then came the sessions, then came the albums, then came the hits, then came the TV shows, etc., etc., and this was all back when the music industry paid for this stuff. The American Dream, man.
- Albums For Everyone: Glen Campbell has sold over 45 million albums.
- Unfinished Big Business: The version of “Gentle On My Mind” that was such a smash? A demo!!! Most demos sound like wet napkins on cardboard. Few reach radio. Fewer still do THAT.
- On the Map: Born in Arkansas, a regional radio star in New Mexico, a hit session artist in Hollywood, ran a theater in Branson. With plenty of time in Nashville, England and more or less the rest of the world.
- Saddle Up, Pilgrim: Glen Campbell was featured in the original version of True Grit alongside John Wayne (and recorded an Oscar-nominated song for the movie).
- Stranger Things Have Happened: The guitar on Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night?” Glen Campbell. Doobie doobie doo.
- Hope He Owns A Tux: Campbell’s played the White House four times and two private shows for the UK’s royal family.
- When Do You Practice?: Glen Campbell is a scratch golfer. Lots of famous guys play golf. Few are that good. Fewer still host the Glen Campbell Los Angeles open.
- Going Out With a Roar: Glen’s last album, the forthcoming Ghost on The Canvas, features songs from Paul Westerberg, Bob Pollard and Jakob Dylan and appearances by Chris Isaak, Dick Dale, Brian Setzer, Billy Corgan and many more… Crazy (again)!
- Oh, yeah, that song “Rhinestone Cowboy”? Yeah, that’s Glen Campbell.