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Remembering Glen Campbell

My awareness of Glen Campbell goes way back to the early 60s. Glen had a record out in 1961 called, “Turn Around, Look at Me,” it later became a big hit for other people, but it was a foot in the door for Campbell. I loved the song and even had a copy of the record. it was not too many years after that that I began to hear his name mentioned in musician circles that the guy was one of the best guitar pickers anywhere.

If you remember Glen only for his hits, you’ll be amazed at the “other career” he had before he became famous. Campbell was a member of a group of Los Angeles session musicians known as the Wrecking Crew. As part of that very exclusive club, Campbell played guitar behind everyone who was anyone.

In 1963 alone, Campbell played guitar on nearly 600 records. He backed folks like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, The Beach Boys,The Mamas and the Papas and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Campbell’s reputation as a solid guitar player locked him in to session work, but he had a voice to and it was his voice and guitar playing that got him in the big time.

Back in the mid 60s, when Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys retired from the road, Wilson asked Campbell to be his replacement. Brian Wilson is quoted as saying, “Glen’s main forte is guitar, but he’s even a better singer than all the rest.  He could sing higher than I could.”

It wasn’t long after Campbell left the Beach Boys that he began what was to be an amazing career that yielded 45 million records sold, received 11 Grammys, and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2005.

 

Even his Alzheimer’s diagnosis in 2011 didn’t stop him.  He decided to bring light to the disease by doing interviews, making appearances, and launching his Goodbye Tour.  His final studio album, “Adios”, was released in June.

Here’s a great video of Campbell performing “Wichita Lineman” with the songs brilliant composer, Jimmy Webb, who wrote several of Campbell’s hits.

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