All About Jazz

Home » Articles » Profiles

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

8

Glen Campbell: 1936-2017

Glen Campbell: 1936-2017
C. Michael Bailey By

Sign in to view read count
Campbell was ubiquitous to 1960s American popular music... —C. Michael Bailey
"Well, that moment has come that we have known was an inevitable certainty and yet stings like a sudden catastrophe. Let the world note that a great American influence on pop music, the American Beatle, the secret link between so many artists and records that we can only marvel, has passed and cannot be replaced -my friend and brother in music, Glen Campbell."

Composer Jimmy Webb, Facebook, August 8, 2017

Jimmy Webb and Glenn Campbell had a lot in common: "By the Time I Get to Phoenix" (1967); "Wichita Lineman" (1968); "Galveston" (1969); "Where's the Playground Susie" (1969); "The Moon's a Harsh Mistress" (1974). The two men found in one another, each other. Campbell was the best interpreter of Jimmy Webb songs in the same way that Jimi Hendrix was of Bob Dylan's. But this is just one small corner of the terrain that was Glen Campbell.

Glen Travis Campbell, like Johnny Cash, Levon Helm, Lefty Frizzell, Conway Twitty, and Charlie Rich, was an Arkansas product. He born in the minute township of Billstown, located near Delight in southwestern part of the state. Campbell was the seventh son of 12 children in a farming family of modest means. He picked up the guitar at age four and was taught the rudiments by an uncle. Campbell never had any formal guitar lessons, instead teaching himself with constant listening to the radio, developing a good ear, and practice when he wasn't working in the cotton fields.

Campbell was not content picking cotton and turned his attention fully to music, which led to local appearances after is family relocated to Houston, TX. In 1954, he moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, joining his uncle's band and staying there several years before finally moving to Los Angeles and becoming a session musician and taking a day gig at the American Music Publishing Company, where he began writing songs and recording demos. This brought Campbell to the forefront of LA talent and he joined a group of like-talented musicians that would become the "Wrecking Crew," a group of session musicians that included: bassists Max Bennett and Carol Kaye; drummers Hal Blaine and Jim Gordon; pianists Leon Russell and Dr. John (Mac Rebennack); and guitarists Barney Kessel and Tommy Tedesco, among many others.

The Wrecking Crew was responsible for a large part of all the music coming out of LA in the middle to late 1960s. Campbell contributed to the Beach Boys in the studio on Pet Sounds (Capitol, 29166) and on the road as part of the touring band, filling in for Brian Wilson. He was session guitarist for Rick Nelson, Elvis Presley (Viva Las Vegas), The Everly Brothers, the Monkees, Jan & Dean, Nancy Sinatra, Paul Revere & the Raiders...well, you get the idea. Campbell was ubiquitous to 1960s American popular music. And this was all before his string of personal hits, beginning with "Gentle on my Mind" in 1967 and ending, effectively with "Southern Nights" a decade later.

Like Ray Charles, Campbell made is mark early and definitively. While he remained active musically, it would not be until 2010, when Campbell announced that he had Alzheimer's Disease, that he would begin a farewell tour culminating in his final appearance in Napa, California, November 30, 2012. Following that show, Campbell returned to his Nashville home, where he recorded his final album, Adios (Universal, 2017). Campbell died at home, with his family, August 8, 2017.

I believe that far too many people know Glen Campbell from "Rhinestone Cowboy" (1975), which is, beyond question, great pop music. But Glen Campbell was something else altogether. He was a musician par excellence who seamlessly bridged genres effortlessly. Glen Campbell's death diminishes us in a way that while we will recover, things will never...can never... be the same.

Oh, and if you are looking for a jazz connection, find a performance of "Back Home in Indiana." He smokes it like a Havana Cohiba.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

Shop Music & Tickets

Click any of the store links below and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool Profiles
Istanbul’s İKSV: An Intensity Beyond Cool
by Arthur R George
Published: October 17, 2018
Read Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland Profiles
Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland
by Charles Suhor
Published: September 2, 2018
Read Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018 Profiles
Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read Remembering Tomasz Stanko Profiles
Remembering Tomasz Stanko
by AAJ Staff
Published: July 29, 2018
Read SFJAZZ: Decades After, Five Years In Profiles
SFJAZZ: Decades After, Five Years In
by Arthur R George
Published: July 19, 2018
Read Kuumbwa And The Magic of Monday Night Profiles
Kuumbwa And The Magic of Monday Night
by Arthur R George
Published: July 2, 2018
Read "Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018" Profiles Aretha Franklin, The Lady Soul: 1942 - 2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: August 17, 2018
Read "Bob Dorough: 1923-2018" Profiles Bob Dorough: 1923-2018
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2018
Read "Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland" Profiles Don Suhor: From Dixieland to Bopsieland
by Charles Suhor
Published: September 2, 2018
Read "The Bach's Beach Vision Of Jazz Heaven" Profiles The Bach's Beach Vision Of Jazz Heaven
by Arthur R George
Published: June 17, 2018