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Glen Campbell Biography

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Glen Campbell Biography

Glen Campbell

Image Courtesy of Capitol Records
Lush string arrangements and smooth vocals are hallmarks of Glen Campbell's style. These pop-friendly qualities made his music successful on both the mainstream and country charts. However, the glossy sheen of songs like "Rhinestone Cowboy" also made him the enemy of country music purists.

Basic Facts:

  • Full Name: Glen Travis Campbell
  • Birthday: April 22, 1936
  • Hometown: Delight, Arkansas
  • Country Style: Country pop

Musical Influences:

Chet Atkins, Merle Travis

As a young man, Campbell also listened to jazz guitarists such as Django Reinhardt.

Glen Campbell Quotes:

On his versatility: "I've played so many styles: when I was doing sessions in Hollywood I was playing anything from rock and roll to big band and country, so no particular style, though you could say I'm a picker."

On playing live: "I love strings. I always ask for strings to be up in the monitor. When the instrumental plays, I can just float in the music. I can be anywhere, lifted off the ground, just suspended."

Glen Campbell's Early Years:

Glen Campbell grew up as one of 12 children in a family of sharecroppers in Arkansas. When he couldn't press down the strings of his guitar as a boy, his father made him a guitar capo out of a corncob.

Life as a Studio Musician:

In the early 1960s, Glen Campbell got his foot in the door of the music industry by working as a studio musician. He can be heard playing guitar and singing on records by Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, Dean Martin, the Monkees, and the Beach Boys. He even filled in for Beach Boys singer Brian Wilson when Wilson retired from the road in the mid-1960s.

Solo Career and Television Show:

Launched in 1968, TV's The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour gave the singer national exposure and helped cement his popularity. Campbell's easygoing manner was popular with audiences. The prime-time CBS show ran until 1972.

In the 1970s, Glen Campbell helped move country into the mainstream with his pop-inflected hits. They included "Gentle on My Mind," "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," and "Wichita Lineman."

1980s and '90s:

In the 1980s, Campbell transitioned to work as a live performer, with frequent gigs in Branson and Las Vegas.

The singer released his autobiography Rhinestone Cowboy: An Autobiography in 1996.

Alzheimer's Diagnosis:

In 2009, Glen Campbell learned he had Alzheimer's disease. He decided it was time for him to hang up his hat, and in 2011 he released Ghost on the Canvas. He called it his final album, and it was met with largely positive reviews.

Suggested Songs:

Recommended Albums:

  • Gentle on My Mind (1967) Compare Prices
  • By the Time I Get to Phoenix (1968) Compare Prices
  • Wichita Lineman (1968) Compare Prices
  • Galveston (1969) Compare Prices
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