Birthday: April 22, 1936
Died At Age: 81
Sun Sign: Taurus
Also Known As: Glen Travis Campbell
Born in: Billstown, Arkansas
Famous as: Singer
Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males
Spouse/Ex-: 1982–2017 - Kimberly Woolen, 1955–1959 - Diane Kirk, 1959–1976 - Billie Jean Nunley, 1976–1980 - Sarah Barg
children: Ashley Campbell, Cal Campbell, Debbie Campbell, Dylan Campbell, Kane Campbell, Kelli Campbell, Shannon Campbell, Travis Campbell
Died on: August 8, 2017
Diseases & Disabilities: Alzheimer's
U.S. State: Arkansas
Who was Glen Campbell?
Glen Travis Campbell was an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, television host, and actor. Best known for his hit songs in the 1960s and 1970s, he also became popular as the host of the comedy variety show, ‘The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour’. The seventh child of a poor tenant farmer, Glen had a tough childhood. He almost drowned in the Little Missouri River when he was a toddler and his brother revived him from unconsciousness. He, therefore, believed that he had a divine touch in his life. Starting his career as a songwriter and a sideman, he achieved success in the genres of both country and pop music. About 80 of his songs reached the Billboard and other charts, 29 of which made it to the top 10, and nine of which reached the No. 1 spot. Inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005, Campbell won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2012. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in the early 2010s, he died in 2017 at the age of 81.
Childhood & Early Life
Glen Campbell was born on April 22, 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas, to John Wesley, a poor sharecropper, and Carrie Dell (Stone) Campbell. He had five brothers and four sisters. The family lived on a farm and picked cotton for rich farmers—Glen used to pick a hundred pounds for $1.25. He later said in an interview that even if he worked very hard, he could pick only 80-90 pounds a day.
His family has musical interests and Glen became efficient with the guitar at the age of four. Two years later, he ended up performing on local radio stations. With no formal training in music, he practiced by listening to the radio and records.
At the age of 14, he dropped out of school to work with his brothers in Houston. Yet, he wouldn’t give up music. He started playing music at fairs, church choirs, and church picnics. He also performed on local radio stations, and later in a local nightclub.
He eventually moved to New Mexico in 1954 and joined his uncle's band, Dick Bills and the Sandia Mountain Boys. He also found spots on children's programs on KOB television and radio shows with his uncle. In 1958, he formed his own band, the Western Wranglers.
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In 1960, Glen Campbell moved to Los Angeles and joined the rock and roll band, the Champs. He also took up a job at American Music, a publishing company, where he wrote songs and recorded demos. Soon he joined a group of studio musicians called the Wrecking Crew.
In May 1961, he left the Champs and signed a contract with the Crest Records. His first solo single, ‘Turn Around, Look at Me’, peaked at No. 62 on the Billboard Hot 100.
He, along with his band members from the Champs, formed Gee Cees and performed at the Crossbow Inn. They also released a single, which did not do well. In 1962, he signed with Capitol Records and achieved moderate success with songs like ‘Too Late to Worry, Too Blue to Cry’ and ‘Kentucky Means Paradise’.
His popularity as a musician earned him some television projects as well, and in 1964 he started appearing as a regular on the syndicated series ‘Star Route’, the musical variety series ‘Shindig!’ and ‘Hollywood Jamboree.’
In 1965, his song ‘Universal Soldier’ became his biggest solo hit and reached No. 45 on the Hot 100. He then collaborated with producer Al De Lory and recorded ‘Burning Bridges’ in 1966; it became a top 20 country hit. Next, they recorded ‘Gentle on My Mind’, which was an instant hit, followed by the song ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’, which became a bigger success.
Glen Campbell hosted his own weekly variety show, ‘The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour’, which ran from 1969 to 1972 on CBS.
In 1974, he co-starred in a television movie, ‘Strange Homecoming’, and hosted several shows like ‘Down Home, Down Under’ and NBC special ‘Glen Campbell: Back to Basics’. From 1982 to 1983, he hosted a music show, ‘The Glen Campbell Music Show’.
In the mid-1970s, his major hits were ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’, ‘Southern Nights’, ‘Sunflower’ and ‘Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.)’. He also sang for motion pictures like ‘True Grit’ in 1969, ‘Norwood’ in 1970, ‘Rock-a-Doodle’ in 1992, and the 2014 documentary film ‘Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me’.
After he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010, he embarked on a Goodbye Tour with three of his children joining him in his band. His final show was in November 2012, in Napa, California. He also began working on his final album, ‘Adiós’, and in January 2013, he recorded his last song, ‘I'm Not Gonna Miss You’. On June 9, 2017, his album ‘Adiós’ was released.
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Twelve of Glen Campbell albums were certified gold, four platinum, and one double-platinum. The albums ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ and ‘Southern Nights’, both became US No. 1 hits. His single ‘Rhinestone Cowboy’ became one of his signature songs and won numerous awards and nominations.
The songs ‘Gentle on My Mind’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’ were his other important works. The former won four Grammy Awards while the latter earned two. Both the songs are counted among the best country songs of all time.
Awards & Achievements
Glen Campbell was the winner of ten Grammy Awards. He received five of these in 1967—two for ‘Gentle on My Mind’ and three for ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’. In 2012, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.
In 1969, his song ‘True Grit’ received nominations for the Academy Award for Best Song and the Golden Globe for Best Original Song.
He won the Academy of Country Music Award ten times, American Music Awards thrice, Country Music Association Awards thrice, and the GMA Dove Awards thrice, besides several other honors.
In 2015, he and songwriter Julian Raymond were nominated at the 87th Academy Awards for Best Original Song for I'm Not Gonna Miss You’.
Glen Campbell was married four times. He had five sons and three daughters. He married Diane Kirk in 1955 and divorced her in 1959. Next, he was married to Billie Jean Nunley from 1959 to 1076.
He married Sarah Barg in 1976; this marriage ended four years later. He wed Kimberly ‘Kim’ Woollen in 1982.
His biography, ‘The Glen Campbell Story’, written by Freda Kramer, was published in 1970.
In the 1970s, he became addicted to alcohol and cocaine. In an interview, he had stated that his wife Kim helped him overcome his addictions. Although he stopped drinking and abusing drugs in 1987, he relapsed in 2003. He was jailed for ten days for drunk driving and escaping from the scene of an accident.
He died on August 8, 2017, at the age of 81, following his long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.