He’ll forever be gentle on our minds.
The music world — including Dolly Parton, Kasey Musgraves, Brad Paisley, Carole King, Sheryl Crow, Charlie Daniels, Roseanne Cash, Tony Orlando, Kevin Jonas and Blake Shelton — is mourning the loss of crossover country star Glen Campbell.
The Country Music Hall of Famer and 10-time Grammy winner known for monster hits “Gentle On My Mind,” “Galveston,” “Wichita Lineman” and “Rhinestone Cowboy” died Tuesday at 81, following a well-publicized battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Born in Arkansas, the seventh son of 12 children in a musical farming family, he began playing guitar at 4. A prodigy who didn’t read music, he started playing professionally as a teen, and became a studio musician in the early 1960s, appearing on records by Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, The Monkees, Merle Haggard, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and Phil Spector.
After filling in for Brian Wilson for a spell, he turned down an offer to be a member of the Beach Boys, instead embarking on a solo career, and hitting with composer Jimmy Webb’s “By the Time I Get to Phoenix.”
After guest hosting the Smothers Brothers TV show, he got his own variety series, which ran from 1969-72 and showcased performers including Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Linda Ronstadt and Willie Nelson.
The father of eight children, he was married four times, had a headline-making relationship with Tanya Tucker (22 years his junior) and fought alcoholism and cocaine addiction (even calling himself a “cheap drunk” and a “cheap high”).
He cleaned up in the 1980s, becoming a born-again Christian and marrying his fourth wife, Kimberly Woollen, in 1982.
In 2011, after announcing he had Alzheimer’s, Campbell released an album of original music “Ghost on the Canvas” (with guests Billy Corgan, Paul Westerberg and Jakob Dylan) and toured his with children Cal, Shannon and Ashley in his band; the last concert was in Napa in 2012.
A 2015 documentary “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” followed him on the tour as his memory declined.
In June, his final album, “Adiós,” was released. Recorded in 2012 in Nashville, the collection includes four Webb songs he never recorded but always loved, and contributions from Roger Miller, Bob Dylan, Dickey Lee, Jerry Reed, Carl Jackson, Fred Neil and Willie Nelson.
David Letterman, the longest-serving host in U.S. late-night TV history, has a new Netflix show in the works; the six-episode series, slated to premiere in 2018, will feature Letterman in long conversations with a single guest as well as explore topics outside the studio.
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