Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Glen Campbell - RIP

On August 8, 2017, we lost Glen Campbell. RIP Glen, you were a consummate musician and performer. You entertained and brought joy to millions of fans. Most of us have a favorite song of his, there are a lot of choices. 

I will admit that I never bought a Glen Campbell album or record. He was never the coolest or hottest (funny they mean the same thing) singer or recording artist. His songs were most definitely popular but never cutting edge. That is unless you actually listened to the lyrics. Glen didn't write his most famous songs, but he certainly put his mark on them. 

I was always more impressed by Glen's ability as a virtuoso guitarist. That talent became somewhat obscured when he became a popular vocalist. Just to remind those who pay attention to real musical talent, I have one fact to remind you of how good Glen was. He was a member of The Wrecking Crew. They were the premier studio session musicians of the 1960's and 70's. They were the musicians on the recordings of everyone from Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra to Phil Spector and the Beach Boys. If you ever have listened to a hit song from the 60's or 70's, the odds are very good that The Wrecking Crew were the musicians on the record. They recorded hundreds of songs each year. When Brian Wilson decided to stop touring with the Beach Boys, Glen was recruited to take his spot on the road. Glen played bass and sang some of Brian's vocal parts for about four months. My guess is that having Glen play bass was a waste of his talents since he most surely was the best guitarist of that touring group. He did play guitar on the iconic Beach Boys album Pet Sounds

In 1967, Glen had the breakout hit Gentle On My Mind. From then on, he was a successful solo artist. Campbell had great success on the Country charts although he never considered himself a Country singer. As evidenced by his time with The Wrecking Crew and the Beach Boys, he just loved music and good songs. He certainly recorded several good songs. 

I won't try to document his career and discography in detail. Those interested can look up all that. In summation, Glen was a consummate musician, a popular singer, a TV star, and a movie actor. He was around for several decades. 

He had a roller coaster personal life. He battled drugs, alcohol and had some less than harmonious relationships. He seemed to have found some solace since the 80's until the devastating diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease in 2011. 

I hope he didn't suffer and that he didn't remember the last few years. 

RIP Glen Campbell. You left your mark on the world and it is a joyful and musical mark.


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