Saturday, August 12, 2017

Glen Campbell

I knew the day was coming soon when I would have to write this post,but I still was dreading having to type the words of Glen Campbell passing away at the age of 81 from complications from Alzheimer's Disease.

I'm sure that most of you know the resume' of Glen Campbell from the studio work with about anyone and everyone that you've ever heard of in the 1960's,his brief stint as a Beach Boy,the massive crossover star that was really the first to be equally large on the pop and country charts at the same,the hugely popular television star and more.

Glen Campbell was all of those things and he had his negatives too including issues with drugs and alcohol in the late 1970's and 1980's,but you always had this underlying feeling that the guy that you saw on TV was closer to the real person even though you could tell his problems were there and the mistakes that those problems caused.

However,you can get a career retrospective in other places,what I'd like to write about is what Glen Campbell meant to me along with the stages of my life all the way back to what I can remember.
When Glen Campbell was at his career peak,I was in my formative toddler years and Glen Campbell was everywhere.
A top rated television show,building a catalog of hits that rank with the most formidable ever (Campbell outsold the last two Beatles albums in that time),a movie with John Wayne that won Academy Awards in True Grit (Campbell didn't win many awards,he admitted his acting chops were limited at best) and appearing on other shows,One could make the argument that for a period from 1968-72 that all things considered,Glen Campbell might have been the biggest star in the country.

I've always ranked Galveston and Gentle on my mind as my favorites of his best known songs and have listened to them since I was a kid and my copy of Galveston is still around somewhere,despite my lack of phonograph players.

When you consider that kind of media saturation in the limited outlets of the time,it's pretty easy to see the popularity of Glen Campbell.
As so many young kids do,you like what's available,the difference was that I stayed a fan.
Campbell would have hits through the years including the one most people know in Rhinestone Cowboy,which was never one of my favorites of my collection and went through even more phases as did I.

Right after the Rhinestone era,Glen found himself in some controversy,first by marrying the ex-wife of country star Mac Davis and then when that went awry,began a relationship with the far younger Tanya Tucker.
Campbell and Tucker were noted for a tempestuous relationship filled with drugs,alcohol and reported domestic violence on both sides,hurting the reputations of both.
As for me,I still played records,but it was only on occasion that I played Glen's records and I didn't like Tanya Tucker,so it was mainly the older stuff as I hit middle school and began high school...

Glen and Tucker broke up and he found the lady that he would spend the rest of his life in the mid-80's and so did I.
I played Glen's hits in the car on cassette and discovered that Cherie didn't really like his music!
She associated Glen Campbell not with Gentle on my mind or even Rhinestone Cowboy,but music from his Tucker period that saw him make some pretty pedestrian music like "I love my truck".
She didn't know the trendsetting guitar work in the studio or much more than likely his lowest quality of music.
Clearly,this would take time....

Glen got himself cleaned up and I was a husband and father.
I started listening to his music a lot,because in so many of his songs,I found meaning.
It helped me deal with the struggles of being a young spouse and dad and I likely drove Cherie,Ryan and my friends nuts with playing him so much.
They might not have known why I found solace and they may not look at it this way,but at least a few people will always associate Glen Campbell with some pretty good times with me and my house...

Glen found religion and I never really did,but his release of a Christian album was one of the best releases and I still listen to it to this day.
Jesus and Me may be autobiographical,but even with my personal beliefs,it still speaks to me-it's great music.

I began to dig deeper into Glen's lesser known music when the internet came into being with my discovering his cover of "Universal Soldier",which is so good that Rachel even likes it,which says more than you know!
Glen took a slow folk ballad and added his guitar work with some speed to produce a little known classic.

I got older and so did Glen,who decided to start covering some damn good music from the current scene along with continuing to tour and I couldn't not write about Glen and me without mentioning the one time that I was able to see perform live-in Hagerstown at the Maryland Theatre in 2001.
Cherie had heard about this months ahead of time and we bought tickets for the front row.
I enjoyed the music,but just as much as the show,I enjoyed the memories that the songs brought to mind.
That concert also saw me buy a CD of a live concert that he had recorded for PBS (the DVD would come out later) that played his hits and more.
I'd bet PBS replays that soon,so be on the lookout for it!

Glen had been well known on the Christian television circuit doing concerts and talk shows on the various networks and had been known for changing his life when he was suddenly picked up for drunk driving with one of the worst and well known mug shots ever.
It had to be embarrassing and Campbell stayed out of trouble thereafter,but I wondered far later,if that might have been the first hint of the eventual Alzheimer's beginning to make itself known..

When the family announced the diagnosis of Alzheimer's,you knew the clock was ticking on both the career and Glen's life,but his early and public disclosure brought a lot of attention to the disease as well as making new fans that were exposed to his music as well as the music that he played on others albums too.
Glen Campbell may have had problems remembering,but his fans (old and new) didn't have issues recalling his career.

Glen Campbell wasn't perfect by any means,but his music has in many ways been the soundtrack to my life and there's a little hole there today.
He'll be missed,but he left so much behind to be enjoyed by so many.
Glen's most recent hit and release was about his future with Alzheimer's and his acceptance of not remembering what he had.
It's quite poignant and haunting-another great release for the road..

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