Glen Campbell, who had 21 Top 40 hits including "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," died yesterday. He was 81.
Campbell’s career spanned six decades, and he sold over 45 million records. In 1968, one of his biggest years, he even outsold the Beatles.
Glen’s family released a statement: ”It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather, and legendary singer and guitarist, Glen Travis Campbell, at the age of 81, following his long and courageous battle with Alzheimer's disease.”
Campbell was born in 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas. He dropped out of school when he was 14 and moved to Wyoming with an uncle who was a musician, playing gigs together at rural bars. He soon moved to Los Angeles and by 1962 joined a group of session pros. In 1963 alone, he appeared on 586 cuts and countless more throughout the decade, including the Byrds' "Mr. Tambourine Man," Elvis Presley's "Viva Las Vegas,” Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" and the Righteous Brothers' "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling.”
In late 1964, Brian Wilson had a nervous breakdown on tour with the Beach Boys, and the band called on Campbell to replace him on bass and high harmonies.
Campbell had his first major hit in 1967, with "By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
In 1968, Campbell won Grammys in both the country and pop categories, including Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male, Best Country & Western Song and Best Vocal Performance, Male.
In the summer of 1968, Campbell guest hosted the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which led to his own variety show, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, which he hosted from 1969 until 1972.
John Wayne cast him in a co-starring role in 1969's True Grit.
Then, Campbell scored a smash with 1975's "Rhinestone Cowboy."
Campbell was married four times, and has five sons and three daughters. In the early 1980s, while battling alcoholism and cocaine addiction, Campbell made tabloid headlines with a 15-month, high-profile relationship with country singer Tanya Tucker.
In 2011, Campbell announced that he had Alzheimer's disease. He released his final album of original music and went on a farewell tour with three of his children backing him. He played 151 shows.
He spent his final years in an assisted living facility.
Earlier this year, Campbell released ‘Adiós’, his final studio album, a collection of mainly cover songs that he recorded after his Goodbye Tour.