Glen Campbell: Gentle on His Mind
by Linda Ryan | August 30, 2011
Earlier this summer, country music icon Glen Campbell did a candid interview with People magazine, revealing that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. With wife Kimberly by his side, the 75-year-old star was grateful and magnanimous: "I still love making music, and I still love performing for my fans. I'd like to thank them for sticking with me through thick and thin." Now comes a farewell album ([Ghost on the Canvas]) and one final series of concerts (The Glen Campbell Goodbye Tour) that will take him to most corners of the world.
Although the sad and terrifying circumstances behind Ghost on the Canvas will undoubtedly lead to plenty of sentimental hype, the fact is that Campbell still sounds fantastic, his voice clear and emotive, with a touch of his Arkansas twang still present. Producer Julian Raymond has done an outstanding job walking the fine line between nodding to Campbell's cosmopolitan glory days and making the singer sound contemporary. Jakob Dylan, Bob Pollard and Paul Westerberg contribute songs, but the most provocative tracks were written by Campbell and Raymond themselves, often based on affecting conversations between the two while they were working on 2008's Meet Glen Campbell.
Glen Travis Campbell left Arkansas for Los Angeles in 1960 and swiftly became an in-demand session player as part of the legendary Wrecking Crew -- a group of talented musicians whose chops could be heard on an array of projects, from commercial jingles to TV theme songs. In addition, Campbell's guitar handiwork can be heard on classics from some of the biggest names in music: Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, numerous Phil Spector recordings and more.
During his 50-year career, Campbell has sold a whopping 45 million records, with such enduring classics as "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" to his name. The playlist below highlights both the jewels of that rich catalog and tracks from the new Ghost on the Canvas, while also shining a light on a few songs you might not know, or might not associate with the guitar handiwork of the Rhinestone Cowboy.