Glen Campbell, Who Beautifully Blended Country Music with Pop, Dead at 81


Hits for the clean-cut crossover star included ‘Gentle on My Mind,’ ‘Rhinestone Cowboy,’ ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘By the Time I Get to Phoenix’

Glen Campbell, the boyish singer-guitarist whose perfect blend of country and pop made for such hits as “Gentle on My Mind,” “Rhinestone Cowboy,” “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” has died after struggling with Alzheimer’s disease for years. He was 81.

Campbell’s official website announced the news of the Country Music Hall of Famer’s death on Tuesday (Aug. 8).

Campbell announced he was ill in June 2011 and was moved to a private-care facility for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients near Nashville in April 2014.

In addition to “Wichita Lineman” and “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” Campbell scored with yet another Jimmy Webb penned hit, “Galveston. ” His renditions of Larry Weiss’ “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Allen Toussaint’s “Southern Nights” each made it to No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts.

In paving a path for other successful country crossover artists, Campbell released more than 70 albums — selling 45 million and accumulating 12 gold, four platinum and one double-platinum album — during his half-century in show business. He collected five Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year in 1968 for By the Time I Get to Phoenix, and was the recipient of the organization’s Lifetime Achievement honor in 2012..


Music World, Hollywood React to Glen Campbell’s Death

“He had that beautiful tenor with a crystal-clear guitar sound, playing lines that were so inventive,” Tom Petty once told Rolling Stone magazine. “It moved me.”

From 1969-72, the Delight, Ark., native hosted the CBS variety show The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and he starred as young Texas Ranger La Boeuf in True Grit (1969) after being handpicked by John Wayne to star opposite him in the Hollywood icon’s lone Oscar-winning role. Campbell also sang the Oscar-nominated title track, composed and written by Elmer Bernstein and Don Black.



  1. What an all-rounder! Backup touring musician (The Beach Boys), dependable studio guitarist (god knows how many sessions), tv host and actor…all in addition to having a singing voice that could enraptured fans of all ages. Back in ’68, I was in my early teens hooked on Beatles, Stones, Collectors, Yardbirds and…Glen Campbell.

    His pre-fame singles got Vancouver airplay. As a Canadian, I dug that he boosted Buffy Sainte Marie’s profile by covering The Universal Soldier. Ditto that he leant a hand in 1971 to Anne Murray, recording duets while she strove to stay relevant in the US in the fallow times between Snowbird and her flood of mid-70s hits.

    Most of all, I was and still am awed by Glen’s string of smashes written by Jimmy Webb. If not Webb’s muse, Glen was certainly the most consistent interpreter of the reclusive genius’s compositions. While Webb melodies were catchy, the lyrics were always intriguing, hinting at the social fraying gradually coming to the fore in America. Divorce (By The Time I Get To Phoenix), the Vietnam War ( Galveston) and isolation (Wichita Lineman) were just some of the underlying topics. The magical chord structures of Wichita Lineman make that my favourite. But the moody, inscrutable Where’s The Playground Susie is a song that lingers in my memory (it hardly ever gets played on oldies radio–at least when I’m tuning in).

    Godspeed, Glen.

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