Rhinestone Cowboy Glen Campbell rides off into the sunset

Country and Western artist Glenn Campbell has died at 81 due to Alzheimer’s Disease

The singer-songwriter, who was born in Arkansas, sold over 45m records over the course of a career that spanned more than 60 years. A statement from the Campbell family on his website read: “It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Primarily Glen Campbell was known as a Country and Western singer. Among his 80 songs that charted on the Billboard Hot 100 or Billboard Country charts were hits such as Rhinestone Cowboy, By the Time I Get to Phoenix and his cover of Gentle on My Mind. Glen Campbell recorded his final studio album, Adios, in Nashville in 2012 and 2013 after his Alzheimer’s diagnosis; Appropriately Adios was released in June this year.

Glen Campbell dropped out of school when he was 14, moving first to Wyoming and then to Los Angeles, where in the early 1960s he appeared as a session musician on the records of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Phil Spector, Merle Haggard, Beach Boys, Mamas & the Papas and the Byrds. His first hit in his own right came in 1967 with By the Time I Get to Phoenix, written by Jim Webb. Their collaboration continued for many years on numerous records such as Wichita Lineman and the ballad Galveston.

Dolly Parton referenced the depth and versatility of Glen Campbell in this tribute: “Well Glen Campbell was special because he was so gifted. Glen is one of the greatest voices there ever was in the business. And he was one of the greatest musicians. He was a wonderful session musician as well, a lot of people don’t realize that. But he could play anything and he could play it really well. So he was just extremely talented.”

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