Glen Campbell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

Glen Campbell
Campbell performing in Texas, January 2004
Background information
Birth nameGlen Travis Campbell
Born(1936-04-22) April 22, 1936 (age 78)
Delight, Arkansas, U.S.
GenresCountry, rock, folk, pop, folk rock, gospel
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, actor
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, banjo, bass, bagpipes[1]
Years active1958–2012
LabelsCapitol, Atlantic, MCA, Liberty, New Haven
Associated actsThe Champs, The Beach Boys, Bobbie Gentry, Anne Murray, Jimmy Webb, John Hartford, Jerry Reed
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the country music singer. For other uses, see Glen Campbell (disambiguation).
Glen Campbell
Campbell performing in Texas, January 2004
Background information
Birth nameGlen Travis Campbell
Born(1936-04-22) April 22, 1936 (age 78)
Delight, Arkansas, U.S.
GenresCountry, rock, folk, pop, folk rock, gospel
OccupationsMusician, songwriter, actor
InstrumentsVocals, guitar, banjo, bass, bagpipes[1]
Years active1958–2012
LabelsCapitol, Atlantic, MCA, Liberty, New Haven
Associated actsThe Champs, The Beach Boys, Bobbie Gentry, Anne Murray, Jimmy Webb, John Hartford, Jerry Reed

Glen Travis Campbell (born April 22, 1936) is an American country music singer, guitarist, television host and occasional actor. He is best known for a series of hits in the 1960s and 1970s, as well as for hosting a variety show called The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on CBS television.

During his 50 years in show business, Campbell has released more than 70 albums. He has sold 45 million records and accumulated 12 RIAA Gold albums, 4 Platinum albums and 1 Double-Platinum album. Campbell's hits include John Hartford's "Gentle on My Mind", Jimmy Webb's "By the Time I Get to Phoenix", "Wichita Lineman" and "Galveston", Larry Weiss's "Rhinestone Cowboy" and Allen Toussaint's "Southern Nights".

Campbell made history by winning four Grammys in both country and pop categories in 1967.[2] For "Gentle on My Mind" he received two awards in country & western, "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" did the same in pop. He owns trophies for Male Vocalist of the Year from both the Country Music Association (CMA) and the Academy of Country Music (ACM), and took the CMA's top award as 1968 Entertainer of the Year. In 1969 Campbell was picked by actor John Wayne to play alongside him in the film True Grit, which gave Campbell a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. Campbell sang the title song which was nominated for an Academy Award.


1950s–mid-1960s: Sandia Mountain Boys, Beach Boys[edit]

Glen Campbell was born in Billstown, a tiny community near Delight in Pike County, Arkansas. He was the seventh son of 12 children. His father was a sharecropper of Scottish descent.[3][4] He started playing guitar as a youth without learning to read music. He credits his uncle Boo for teaching him the guitar.[5]

In 1954 Campbell moved to Albuquerque to join his uncle’s band known as Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys.[6] There he also appeared on his uncle’s radio show[5] and on K Circle B Time, the local children's program on KOB television.[7] In 1958 Campbell formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.[6]

In 1960, Campbell moved to Los Angeles to become a session musician.[8][9] Around this time he was part of the group the Champs.

Soon Campbell was in great demand as a session musician. He was part of a group of studio musicians which became known as "the Wrecking Crew".[9][10]

During this period he played on recordings by Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Nancy Sinatra, Merle Haggard, Jan and Dean,[8] Elvis Presley,[11] Frank Sinatra and Phil Spector.[9][10]

From December 1964 to early March 1965, Campbell was a touring member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson.[8] He also played guitar on the group's Pet Sounds album, among other recordings. On tour, he played bass guitar and sang falsetto harmonies.

In 1967 Campbell was the uncredited lead vocalist on "My World Fell Down" by Sagittarius, a studio group. The song reached No. 70 on the Billboard Hot 100.[12]

1961–66: Early solo career[edit]

By January 1961[13] Campbell had found a daytime job at publishing company American Music, writing songs and recording demos.[5] In May 1961 he left The Champs[14] and subsequently got signed by Crest Records, a subsidiary of American Music. His first release, "Turn Around Look At Me", was a moderate success, peaking at number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.[15] He also formed The Gee Cees with former bandmembers from The Champs, performing at The Crossbow Inn in Van Nuys, a Los Angeles suburb.[16] The Gee Cees too released a single on Crest, the instrumental "Buzzsaw", which did not chart.

In 1962 Campbell signed with Capitol records.[17] After minor initial success with "Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry", his first single for the label, and "Kentucky Means Paradise", released by The Green River Boys featuring Glen Campbell, a string of unsuccessful singles and albums followed.

From 1964 on Campbell began to appear on television as a regular on Star Route, a syndicated series hosted by Rod Cameron,[18] ABC's Shindig! and Hollywood Jamboree.[19]

In 1965 he had his biggest hit yet, reaching number 45 on the Hot 100 with a version of Buffy Sainte-Marie's "Universal Soldier". However, when asked about the pacifist message of the song, he stated that "people who are advocating burning draft cards should be hung."[20]

The follow-up singles didn't do well though and Capitol was considering dropping Campbell from the label in 1966 when he was teamed with producer Al De Lory.[21] Together they first collaborated on "Burning Bridges" which became a top 20 country hit in early 1967,[22] and the album of the same name.

Late 1960s[edit]

Campbell and De Lory collaborated again on 1967's "Gentle on My Mind", written by John Hartford.

"Gentle on My Mind" was an overnight success. It was followed by the bigger hit "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" later in 1967, and "I Wanna Live" and "Wichita Lineman" in 1968. The 1969 song “True Grit” by composer Elmer Bernstein and lyricist Don Black, and sung by Campbell, who co-starred in the movie, received nominations for both the Academy Award for Best Song and the Golden Globe.

Campbell won four Grammy Awards for his performances on "Gentle on My Mind" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix".

His biggest hits in the late 1960s were the songs written by Jimmy Webb: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," "Wichita Lineman", "Galveston", and "Where's the Playground Susie". An album of mainly Webb-penned compositions, Reunion: The Songs of Jimmy Webb, was released in 1974, but it produced no hit single records.

"Wichita Lineman" was selected as one of the greatest songs of the 20th century by Mojo magazine in 1997 and by Blender in 2001.

1970s: The Goodtime Hour, Rhinestone Cowboy and Southern Nights[edit]

After he hosted a 1968 summer replacement for television's The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour variety show, Campbell hosted his own weekly variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, from January 1969 through June 1972. At the height of his popularity, a 1970 biography by Freda Kramer, The Glen Campbell Story, was published.

Campbell performing at the Michigan State Fair, circa 1970

With Campbell's session-work connections, he hosted major names in music on his show including: the Beatles (on film), David Gates and Bread, the Monkees, Neil Diamond, Linda Ronstadt, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Roger Miller and helped launch the careers of Anne Murray, Mel Tillis and Jerry Reed who were regulars on his Goodtime Hour program.

During the late 1960s and early 1970s, Campbell released a long series of singles and appeared in the movies True Grit (1969) with John Wayne and Kim Darby and Norwood (1970) with Kim Darby and Joe Namath.

After the cancellation of his CBS series in 1972, Campbell remained a regular on network television. He co-starred in a made-for-television movie, Strange Homecoming, with Robert Culp and up-and-coming teen idol, Leif Garrett. He hosted a number of television specials, including 1976's Down Home, Down Under with Olivia Newton-John. He co-hosted the American Music Awards from 1976–78 and headlined the 1979 NBC special, Glen Campbell: Back To Basics with guest-stars Seals and Crofts and Brenda Lee. He was a guest on many network talk and variety shows, including: Donny & Marie, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Cher, the Redd Foxx Comedy Hour, Merv Griffin, The Midnight Special with Wolfman Jack, DINAH!, Evening at Pops with Arthur Fiedler and the Mike Douglas Show. From 1982–83 he hosted a 30-minute syndicated music show on NBC, the Glen Campbell Music Show.

In the mid-1970s, he had more hits with "Rhinestone Cowboy", "Southern Nights" (both U.S. No. 1 hits), "Sunflower" (U.S. No. 39) (written by Neil Diamond), and "Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)." (U.S. No. 11).

"Rhinestone Cowboy" was Campbell's largest-selling single, initially with over 2 million copies sold. Campbell had heard the songwriter Larry Weiss' version while on tour of Australia in 1974. The song was included in Dickie Goodman's Jaws movie parody song "Mr. Jaws"; both songs were on the October 4, 1975 Hot 100 top 10. "Rhinestone Cowboy" continues to be used in movie soundtracks and TV shows, including "Desperate Housewives", Daddy Day Care, and High School High. It was the inspiration for the 1984 Dolly Parton/Sylvester Stallone movie Rhinestone.

Campbell made a techno/pop version of the song in 2002 with UK artists Rikki & Daz and went to the top 10 in the UK with the dance version and related music video.

"Southern Nights," by Allen Toussaint, his other No. 1 pop-rock-country crossover hit, was generated with the help of Jimmy Webb, and Jerry Reed, who inspired the famous guitar lick introduction to the song, which was the most-played jukebox number of 1977.

From 1971 to 1983, Campbell was the celebrity host of the Los Angeles Open, an annual professional golf tournament on the PGA Tour.

1980s–2000s: Later career and Country Music Hall of Fame induction[edit]

Campbell made a cameo appearance in the 1980 Clint Eastwood movie Any Which Way You Can, for which he recorded the title song.

In 1991, he provided the voice of the Elvis Presley sound alike rooster Chanticleer in the Don Bluth film "Rock-A-Doodle."

In 1999 Campbell was featured on VH-1's Behind the Music, A&E Network's Biography in 2001, and on a number of CMT programs. Campbell ranked 29th on CMT's 40 Greatest Men of Country Music in 2003.

Campbell in 2004

He is also credited with giving Alan Jackson his first big break. Campbell met Jackson's wife (a flight attendant with Piedmont Airlines) at Atlanta Airport and gave her his publishing manager's business card. Jackson went to work for Campbell's music publishing business in the early 1990s and later had many of his hit songs published in part by Campbell's company, Seventh Son Music. Campbell also served as an inspiration to Keith Urban. Urban cites Campbell as a strong influence on his performing career.[citation needed]

In 2005, Campbell was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

It was announced in April 2008 that Campbell was returning to his signature label, Capitol, to release his new album, Meet Glen Campbell.[23] The album was released on August 19. With this album he branched off in a different musical direction, covering tracks from artists such as Travis, U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Jackson Browne and Foo Fighters. It was Campbell's first release on Capitol in over 15 years. Musicians from Cheap Trick and Jellyfish contributed to the album as well. The first single, a cover of Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)", was released to radio in July 2008. In March 2010, a farewell album titled Ghost on the Canvas was announced which served as a companion to Meet Glen Campbell.[24]

Ghost on the Canvas was released on August 30, 2011, with collaborations that include Paul Westerberg (writer of the title track), The Wallflowers singer Jakob Dylan, Chris Isaak, Rick Nielsen and Billy Corgan of the Smashing Pumpkins.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Relationships and children[edit]

Campbell has been married four times and is the father of five sons and three daughters, ranging in year of birth from 1956 to 1986. Campbell's eldest daughter is Debby, from his marriage (1955–59) to Diane Kirk.[25] After divorcing Kirk, Campbell married Billie Jean Nunley, a beautician from Carlsbad New Mexico who gave birth to Kelli, Travis, and Kane. They divorced in 1975. Shortly after, he had an affair with and later married singer Mac Davis's second wife, Sarah Barg, in 1976. They had one child together (Dillon) and then divorced in 1980, three weeks after Dillon's birth.[26]

From 1980 to 1981 Campbell had a very public relationship with then 21-year-old country star Tanya Tucker that was the subject of supermarket tabloids for months.[27] Campbell has been married to Kimberly "Kim" Woollen since 1982.[28][29] Woollen was a Radio City Music Hall "Rockette" when she and Glen met on a blind date in 1981. They have three children together, Cal, Shannon and daughter Ashley[30] who have joined their father on stage since 2010 as part of his touring band.[31] Campbell, who was raised in the Church of Christ,[32] and Woollen both joined a Baptist church in Phoenix.[33] In a 2008 interview they said that they have been adherents of Messianic Judaism for two decades.[34]

Political views[edit]

On The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, Campbell avoided political topics.[35][36][37] Around this time period he described himself in interviews as "a registered Democrat but I voted Republican a few times" [38][39][40] and he performed in support of both Republican and Democratic politicians.[39][41][42] Campbell performed the National Anthem at the 1980 Republican National Convention[43] and continued to make a number of campaign appearances for Republican candidates during the 1980s and 1990s.[44][45][46]

Alzheimer's diagnosis[edit]

In June 2011, Campbell announced he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease six months earlier. In April 2014, news reports indicated the 78 year old had become a patient at an Alzheimer's long-term care and treatment facility.[47][48][49]

Campbell went on a final "Goodbye Tour", while he could still recall the lyrics to his songs,[50] with three of his children joining him in his backup band;[51][52] his last show was on November 30, 2012 in Napa, California.[53] Campbell sang "Rhinestone Cowboy" as a goodbye at the 2012 Grammy Awards ceremony held on February 12, 2012.[54]



Main article: Glen Campbell videos



1965Baby the Rain Must FallBand Member (uncredited)
1967The F.B.I.Larry DanaEpisode: "Force of Nature"
1967The Cool OnesPatrick
1969True GritLa Boeuf
1969–72The Glen Campbell Goodtime HourHost
1970NorwoodNorwood Pratt
1976/77/78American Music AwardsHost
1980Solid GoldCo-host2 episodes
1980Any Which Way You CanSinger at Lion Dollar Cowboy Bar
1982The Glen Campbell Music ShowHost24 episodes
1986Uphill All the WayCapt. Hazeltine
1991Rock-A-DoodleChanticleer (voice)
1997PlayersJesse DaltonEpisode: "In Concert"


  1. ^ Planer, Lindsay. "Old Hometown review". allmusic. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  2. ^ "Grammy Winners 1967". Grammy Awards Official Site. 
  3. ^ Dwyer, Michael (20 November 2009). "Through a rhinestone darkly". The Age (Australia). Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  4. ^ Gray, Michael (2 December 1998). "A Glen Campbell Christmas The Rhinestone Cowboy Celebrates Holiday Season with New Album, TNN Special and Tour". Country Music Television. Retrieved 26 June 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c Antus, Paul L. "'Turn Around, Look at Me' A Glen Campbell Invitation". Branson's Review. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  6. ^ a b : Glen Campbell : Biography
  7. ^ Hollis, Tim (2001). Hi There, Boys and Girls!: America's Local Children's TV Shows. University Press of Mississippi. p. 180. ISBN 1-57806-395-7. 
  8. ^ a b c Kubernik, Harvey (2009). Canyon of Dreams: The Magic and the Music of Laurel Canyon. New York: Sterling. p. 37. ISBN 978-1402797613. 
  9. ^ a b c Hartman, Kent (2012). The Wrecking Crew: The Inside Story of Rock and Roll's Best-Kept Secret. Thomas Dunne. ISBN 031261974X. 
  10. ^ a b Thrills, Adrian (11 December 2008). "Glen Campbell: I'm done with the drinking and cussing, and life's good". Daily Mail. Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Flynn, Keith. "Keith Flynn's Elvis Presley pages". Retrieved 10 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "Present Tense - Sagittarius - Charts & Awards". allmusic. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  13. ^ "Glen Campbell". Billboard Magazine 1 (36): 26. 30 Jan 1961. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  14. ^ Campbell, Glen (1994). Rhinestone Cowboy. New York: Villard Books. p. 50. ISBN 0-679-41999-3. 
  15. ^ "Allmusic - Glen Campbell - Awards". Rovi Corp. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  16. ^ Kramer, Freda (1970). The Glen Campbell Story. New York: Pyramid Publications Inc. p. 63. 
  17. ^ Graff, Gary. "Like a rhinestone cowboy: Glen Campbell soldiers on through Alzheimer’s disease". The News Herald. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  18. ^ "Glenn Campbell Gets Role in New TV Show". Albuquerque Tribune. 27 Jan 1964. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  19. ^ "Color C&W seg for tv in january". Billboard Magazine 76 (52): 32. 26 Dec 1964. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Walker, Rose Marie (27 January 1965). "Singer thinks Draft Card Burners Should Be Hung". Albuquerque Tribune. p. 13. Retrieved 17 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "[Campbell Behind the Music]". [the Music]. Season 3. Episode 8. September 19, 1999.
  22. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1996). The Billboard Book of Top 40 Country Hits. New York: Billboard Publications Inc. p. 59. ISBN 9780823082919. 
  23. ^ The Return of the Wichita Lineman review by Robert Forster in The Monthly
  24. ^ Graff, Gary (26 March 2010). "Glen Campbell enlists Jakob Dylan, Paul Westerberg". Reuters. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  25. ^ Kramer, Freda (January 1970). The Glen Campbell Story. New York: Pyramid Books. pp. 39–42. 
  26. ^ Lague, Louise (31 January 1983). "Glen Campbell Finds Life with New Wife Kim Woollen Lies Gentle on His Mind". People. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  27. ^ Campbell, Glen Biography: Contemporary Musicians
  28. ^ "Singer Glen Campbell Is Wed for the Third Time at Age 46". Ocala Star-Banner (Ocala, FL). 26 October 1982. pp. 5B. Retrieved 19 August 2010. 
  29. ^ Lague, Louise (31 January 1983). "Glen Campbell Finds Life with New Wife Kim Woollen Lies Gentle on His Mind". People. Retrieved 25 August 2011. 
  30. ^ Glen Campbell
  31. ^ Harris, Becky (15 December 2010). "Campbell, kinfolk leave crowd with delightful feeling". Log Cabin Democrat (Conway, Arkansas). Retrieved 19 December 2010. 
  32. ^ Hattenstone, Simon (2011-08-26). "Glen Campbell: One last love song". The Guardian. Retrieved 2011-08-27. 
  33. ^ David, Paul (1 May 1990). "Glen Campbell: The 1960s country pop star rediscovered his spiritual roots". Cross Rhythms Magazine. 
  34. ^ Goodman, Dean (12 August 2008). "Campbell Has Rock, Religion on his Mind". Reuters. Retrieved 11 September 2011. 
  35. ^ Crosby, Joan (27 February 1969). "Glen Picks at Guitars Not Social Sore Spots". Altoona Mirror. p. 25. Retrieved 9 September 2013. 
  36. ^ "TV Family Goal of Seventh Son". The Baltimore Sun. 26 July 1970. p. 271. 
  37. ^ Roland, Tom. "Glen Campbell Recalls Good Times". Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  38. ^ Lucas, Urith (2 May 1974). "Glen Campbell Finds 'Hometown' Welcome". Albuquerque Tribune. p. 45. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  39. ^ a b Shearer, Ed (13 June 1969). "True Grit Premiere Scene of Political Sniping". Blytheville Courier. p. 8. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  40. ^ Pavilllard, Dan (2 April 1972). "Delight's Delight Heads for Tucson". Tucson Daily Citizen. p. 40. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  41. ^ Keever, Jack (21 January 1969). "Austin Ready for Big Gala". Avalanche Journal. p. 1. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  42. ^ "Glen Campbell to Give Concert". Albquerque Tribune. 18 April 1974. p. 34. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  43. ^ "Jubilant Republicans Cheer Reagan Promise of a Crusade". The Montreal Gazette. 15 July 1980. p. 2. Retrieved 10 September 2011. 
  44. ^ Scott, Vernon (January 16, 1981). "Reagan brings out the stars". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  45. ^ "Texas-sized parties await Grand Old Party". The News and Courier. 19 August 1984. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  46. ^ Dowd, Maureen (13 October 1988). "Country music, ballet among Bush favorites". The Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 7 September 2011. 
  47. ^ Brandle, Lars (17 April 2014). "Glen Campbell Moved Into A Care Facility". Billboard. 
  48. ^ "Music News: Glen Campbell moved into care facility". MSN Entertainment. April 16, 2014. 
  49. ^ Clark, Champ (22 June 2011). "Glen Campbell Has Alzheimer's Disease". People News. 
  50. ^ "Music News: Glen Campbell moved into care facility". MSN Entertainment. April 16, 2014. 
  51. ^ "Glen Campbell". CBS Sunday Morning Show. 12 February 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  52. ^ "Glen Campbell Won’t Let Alzheimer’s Take Him Offstage". CBS News Chicago. January 25, 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012. 
  53. ^ "Glen Campbell’s Last Show In Napa Marks End of an Era". San Francisco: KCBS-TV. November 30, 2012. Retrieved December 26, 2012. 
  54. ^ Gorman, Steve (13 February 2012). "Glen Campbell brings audience to its feet at Grammys". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-05-05. 
  55. ^ Annual GMA Dove Awards Past Winners
  56. ^ "Lifetime Achievement Award - Past recipients". The Recording Academy. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  57. ^ Morris, W.R. (15 December 1974). "The Country Sound". Times Daily: 19. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  58. ^ Q Awards 2008 Campbell: A 'Q Legend'
  59. ^ Morris, Edward. "Country Broadcasters Honor Glen Campbell, Seven Radio Luminaries". CMT. Retrieved 29 February 2012. 
  60. ^ Main actor filmography IMDB; retrieved 12-27-2008
  61. ^ Glen Campbell Filmography Allmovie; retrieved 8-6-2009.

External links[edit]