Glen Campbell died from Alzheimer’s disease at age 81.Glen Campbell, who sang the hits “Rhinestone Cowboy” and “Wichita Lineman” died on August 8. He was 81 years old. His musical career spanned about 60 years, and he sold over 45 million records. His album even outsold The Beatles in 1968. He was a talented man by all accounts.
Campbell was above average in playing the guitar and an acknowledged chart-topping singer. He was also a popular television host. He fought Alzheimer's at the end of his life. Even then, the singer permitted a documentary film crew to shoot Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me , during his 2014 final tour. “I’m Not Gonna Miss You“, from the documentary, won a Grammy for Best Country Song. He became Alzheimer's public face. His representation was so good Bill Clinton mentioned that Campbell would be remembered for giving a face to the disease more than the music he had played.
Campbell was the seventh son of parents who were sharecroppers. He was born in 1936, in the town of Billstown, Arkansas. When reminiscing, he used to talk about how he and his family used to watch television by candlelight. His first important musical influence was Django Reinhardt, the jazz guitarist. He left school at 14 years of age and moved to Wyoming to stay with his musician uncle. They played gigs together at the rural bars. Campbell soon moved to Los Angeles. He soon became a fixture in the band Wrecking Crew. The latter was a group of session musicians. His voice was soon to found in a number of songs like Mr. Tambourine Man by The Byrds and Viva Las Vegas by Elvis Presley.
Campbell’s religious brush began with his parents, Carrie and Wesley. They were both devout members of Church of Christ. The religious upbringing instilled in him a respect for old-fashioned values. Even to his death, Glen continued to respect such values. His desire to perform superlative music came from the values which were instilled in him during his childhood.
Glen Campbell was an iconic American artist & fellow Arkansan. His legacy will be his great talent & how he decided to live with Alzheimers.
— Bill Clinton (@billclinton) August 9, 2017
Glen Campbell was one of the greatest voices of all time. I will always love you, Glen! pic.twitter.com/LQFEWA42lF
— Dolly Parton (@DollyParton) August 8, 2017
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.
— Brian Wilson (@BrianWilsonLive) August 8, 2017
The latter part of his career saw him singing gospel music both in meetings and also inside the recording studio. He was befriended by James Robinson, the evangelist. One of his last gospel hymns was of classic hymns. In an interview, Campbell said that he, along with his wife Kimberly, attended the local synagogue every Saturday and sang hymns in Hebrew. They celebrated Jewish holidays such as Passover, Rosh Hashanah and Hanukkah. They celebrated Christmas as well.
In one particular interview the country star was seen to display a Jewish candelabrum on the mantel, and a Hebrew book on the center table. For 20 years, the Campbells were followers of Messianic Judaism, a religious group that see themselves as committed Jews while rejected by central Jewish groups as “following an essentially evangelical Christian theology.” Campbell commented at that time, “It’s Jews who believe that Christ is the risen savior. I think it will all come around to that.”